Take the title of “Soccer Mom”, “Football Mom”, “Baseball Mom”, “Swim Mom” or whatever sport your child is part of…there are unsportsmanlike behaviors happening on the sidelines that we should talk about.  (I've also got a GREAT story of good sportsmanship that I saw that some parents should really be proud of...because their kids are amazing!)

I’ve got a garage full of sports equipment that smells like boys and no longer fits, but I love all my sports moments with my kiddos and have been a sports mom for many years in Rochester.   Ok, I love almost all of the sports moments. The full-on downpours and 30 degree football days…not my favorite. Coffee saves the day in all of these moments for me though!

Between those sips of coffee and lugging snacks for the team, I’ve seen a lot of great behavior and team bonding happen with the kiddos. Nothing better than watching that magic happen between the players and coaches in a game! Unfortunately, my focus sometimes goes off the kids and sees some bad examples being demonstrated by the parents or those on the sidelines.

Here are a few of the worst things that parents do at their kids’ games in Southeast Minnesota (according to many of you!):

Swearing – Sitting on the sidelines having a conversation or swearing at those on the field…doesn’t matter. If players aren’t allowed to swear, parents should know how to keep their words appropriate for those that are sitting around them. There are millions of words that can be used and dropping the f-bomb during t-ball or soccer isn’t the time or the place.

No Communication/Being Late – Good communication is a must with the coaches, especially if you aren’t able to make it to a game.  Life happens and sometimes you just can’t make it to a game on time.  Be courteous and send an e-mail or text (some coaches even have an app for communication!) so the coaches can plan ahead as best as possible for the team.

Smoking or vaping next to a family or by the field – Have the courtesy to smoke or vape away from families and the kids. Not everyone can handle the smell and I know a child that had to remove himself from a game because the cigarette smoke was so bad he got sick.

Yelling at Their Kids in Disappointment –  Wasn't the number one complaint but many people said this is their number one issue with parents.  This is one that hurts my heart because I watched this happen last year to a child in two different sports in Rochester.  An amazing 4th grader, who has skill just like all the other 4th graders, was constantly screamed at by his dad. Unfortunately, the dad never gave the child praise, never said “good job”, pulled the child aside during practice and before games and make him do more pushups because he didn’t do something right. The team this child played on was undefeated and won every time…but it was never good enough.  (the coaches were amazing, fyi, and made sure this kid got praise!)

Yelling at the Coaches or Umps – this is a great time to remind everyone that most of the coaches helping out our kids are volunteers. Volunteers are hard to find and this season of baseball was challenging. There was a chance that baseball wouldn’t happen for many kids in Rochester. (You can find that story here). Many volunteers are sacrificing work, free time and giving up other responsibilities so they can be on the field with our kids. Showing respect will teach our kids to show respect too.

I saw the best example of good sportsmanship by some Rochester Youth Baseball Association (RYBA) players a few weeks ago. The kids were walking a distance to some batting cages for some pictures and getting uniforms figured out. A few parents were also around, walking behind the players, and some swear words were being thrown around left and right by the adults. They were also being pretty disrespectful as they were talking about an individual they all seemed to know. The players heard them during that walk (as they were all going by me) and one of the baseball players said pretty loudly, “Remember guys, we have to be respectful. We are representing RYBA.”. The parents that were swearing were silent the rest of the walk. If these kids can handle a situation like that, so can you.

Listen to Jessica Williams weekdays from 10 am until 2 pm on Y105FM!