In Jupiter, Fla., parents who want their children to participate in youth sports must now take a class on good sportsmanship. They also are required to sign a code of good behavior that basically says "I will remember that these games are for children -- not adults."
The class requirement and signed agreement may seem extreme, but could mean the difference between fond memories for a child and embarrassing experiences that will linger for a lifetime.
As we begin a season filled with summer sports programs for our youth, it's a perfect time to review the SportParent's Code of Conduct provided by the Town of Payson's Parks and Recreation Department.
The code has 10 guidelines for parents and adults who attend youth sporting events. They seem simple enough, but, as you may know, simple rules can be difficult to follow when pride and passion come before common sense.
1. Remain in the spectator area during games
2. Don't advise the coach on how to coach
3. Don't make derogatory comments to coaches, officials or players of either team
4. Don't try to coach your child during the contest
5. Don't drink alcohol at contests or come to a contest having had too much to drink
6. Cheer for your child's team
7. Show interest, enthusiasm and support for your child
8. Be in control of your emotions
9. Help when asked by coaches or officials
10. Thank coaches, officials and other volunteers who conduct the event
In short, we should all do our best to make youth sports fun for our children and be examples of sportsmanship and courtesy. In the end, how we treat each other is much more important than how well we can throw a ball.