Culture of respect missing in lacrosse, youth sports

May 07, 2010

One thing that has been lost in sports, not just lacrosse, is respect. From early on kids must be taught respect for the game and rules, respect for the coach and referees and respect for your teammates and players on the other team. This has been unfortunately forgotten.

From second grade on my two sons played in rec league lacrosse. In those 10 or so years we attended many games as well as many lacrosse tournaments, and we have been witnesses to embarrassing behavior. The unsportsmanlike type of behavior sadly is not just from the kids, it is also the coaches and the parents on the sidelines. Parents bully the refs and yell things like "hit him hard, knock them down, get 'em!!!" to their kids. This starts when kids are in elementary school and goes up through high school.

No wonder there is so much aggression when they enter college; it's been drilled into them from early on. Coaches and parents need to be respectful to the kids and enforce good behavior. No fighting, no cussing, no bullying, period or you are off the team. Not just a slap on the wrist.

We also see this type of behavior in professional sports from players who should be setting examples for the younger audience. DUI's, fighting, rape, sexual harassment, unfaithfulness — it's all been in the news, and our kids hear and see it. What happened to respect and playing the game for the love of it? And being happy that you put forth your best effort — win or lose? It's not just about the big name or the amount of money it brings.

Hopefully the sports community as well as parents will see the tragic murder of Yeardley Love as a wake up call and make changes from early on by demanding respect and good behavior from their kids and enjoy the true meaning of sports.

T. Griffith, Baltimore

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