Why you should always skip your kids’ baseball games

Tonight we return to what has been a
long-standing PBS Newshour tradition essays on television we kick off again
with author and father Daniel Pink tonight he speaks to families and their
child athletes America has a problem with youth sports and this problem has a name two names
actually mom and dad but the real issue isn’t what you might think now we
already know that some sports parents are completely nuts like mothers who sue the league
when their precious progeny don’t get enough playing time or
hyper competitive fathers who got cut from the high school team and
are now taking revenge by threatening volunteer referees or
barking at preteen girls now the deeper concern might be with all the other parents the good ones the
nice ones parents like me who come to games and
cheer for the players and shout its okay when our sons and daughters
strikeout we’re part in the problem too and it’s time for us to get out of the
way for the sake of our children let’s ban
parents all parents not just the wackos from
attending most of their kids games let’s step off the sidelines and climb down from the bleachers and
make youth sports a parent free zone now hear me out on
this in many places attending your kids
sporting events has somehow become a leading indicator of
parental awesomeness can’t stay late today gotta go
to maria’s soccer match I haven’t missed one of Billy’s
basketball games for three years good for you but is it really good for
your kids if we feel like we’re investing our time and attention don’t we then
expect some kind of return from a 10-year-old who’s hitting a ball with a stick what few of us well-meaning
parents realize but that any professional athlete will tell you is that when kids look to us on the
sidelines for approval or consolation or even orange slices
part of them is distracted from what really counts the mastery of something difficult the
obligations to teammates the game itself sitting there in our
folding chairs can prevent children from standing on their
own two feet if they succeed in the field they not us deserve the joy if they fail and they
will a lot they not us have to figure out how
to respond maybe that’s why research has shown that organized sports inhibit kids creativity but pickup games actually enhance it
besides at their hearts sports are about stories if we’re not in
the stands the kids own the story they get to tell us what went well and what didn’t instead us telling them from the front
seat of the car ride home think about it compared to other parts
of our children’s lives sports are bizarrely parent centric we
don’t gather in the back algebra class and watch students solve quadratic equations in music and dance and theater we don’t
attend every single practice lesson in
rehearsal we just show up for an occasional performance keep our mouths shut and applaud like
crazy when it’s over so here’s a better idea:
especially for the legions of paunchy stressed out middle-age souls
out there let’s banish parents from youth field
sports and diamonds and let’s arrange for moms and dads to
play soccer softball basketball whatever themselves when their children have a
game our kids would get more freedom we parents would get more exercise and all of us would remember why we love

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