Kids’ sports are supposed to be fun

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As parents of three daughters who have participated in various sports throughout the years, we feel that it is time to speak up regarding the competitive environment that we are creating for our children. Recently we read about a local brawl taking place at an AAU tournament. At the age of 8, one of our daughters came home from soccer practice (recreational soccer, not select), stating that she didn’t want to play sports anymore because the coach told her she wasn’t good enough. She didn’t play sports again until the age of 15. Our latest experience with high school basketball taught another daughter that winning is the only thing that is important. Aggression rules. Practice, dedication, hard work and a passion for the sport don’t seem to matter any more. This is a plea to coaches everywhere: You ask us as parents to be courteous spectators and to support your coaching techniques and decisions. In return, we ask that you respect our children’s individuality. Even if they are not the best athlete on the team, they need to be valued. Sports are supposed to be fun. Let’s make that our goal for kids of every ability. Our hope is that you, as coaches, will realize that your words and actions on the court or on the field affect our youth more than you can ever know. You have the power to make or break their spirit and make a difference in their lives, not only as athletes, but as people. Anne Weinberg, Rocklin