OT: Youth Football League Cancels Season

Submitted by StephenRKass on October 14th, 2015 at 1:02 PM

A youth football league in Mt. Pleasant, PA, cancelled the rest of the season in light of continued threats of violence against league officials. This hits home, with my son having played youth football the last 5 years, and now playing on the Glenbard North freshman team.

This is just sad. I do not like anarchy.

LINK:  Youth Football League Cancels Season

Here's a press release:

To all league officers, coaches, parents, players and cheerleaders,

The decision has been made with great regret that the 2015 MPAJF football season has been cancelled. After continued threats against League officials, coaches and referees, the League has only one option, to cancel the season. Today, October 13, 2015, ammunition shells were placed at the field gate with names of League officers printed with permanent marker. Due to the increase in violence of these threats, the safety of our children is the main concern. Decisions of this magnitude are not done lightly; rather they are done with the advice of the State Police, FBI, school administrators and League Officials. We hope that as parents you will agree with this decision and try and cooperate with everyone involved to bring forward the person or persons responsible for these actions. The league’s future and our children’s continued participation in future seasons is what is in jeopardy.

Thank you for your support

EDIT: Mods, given this is the football season, and Michigan State week, I completely understand if this post is removed. But I don't know that I can remove it myself.

Comments

justingoblue

October 14th, 2015 at 1:19 PM ^

Like most things in life, the OT policy is not binary, it's a spectrum. An off topic post about ISS Commander Scott Kelly is almost definitely coming down (check out his photos though) and so would a movie thread. This is about amateur sports at a time where talking about the future of football is in vogue (seriously, there probably is a Vogue article about the future of football).

The question at play for me is something like "how well does this align with the purpose of the board?". Awesome pictures of Australia from space or The Walk? Not so much. Youth football? That's a lot closer.

ijohnb

October 14th, 2015 at 1:10 PM ^

parent of an 8 year old son right now, I can tell you that I have been very surprised how seriously parents take youth sports from a very young age.  Many fathers of kids my son's age very literally define themselves by their kids ability to perform in sports, and we are talking about 8 year olds.  It has reached a level where I am no longer actively encouraging my son to play the mainstream sports(youth basketball, flag football, etc.) because it already does not appear "fun" to the kids that do. 

MGoBender

October 14th, 2015 at 2:53 PM ^

You're right it's big business, but you missed the real problem:

Club coaches feeding into parents' illusions of gradeur so that they can make money.  "You're kid is amazing!  I can get him a D1 scholarship!  Don't play high school X, they can't train him like I can.  That'll be $2000 please."

the real hail_yes

October 14th, 2015 at 1:19 PM ^

I read yesterday that participation in all team sports was down considerably, and they attributed that to parents wanting their kids to specialize in one sport. This, in turn, has resulted in burnout that is now leading to kids quitting all organized sports by age 13 on average.

ijohnb

October 14th, 2015 at 1:30 PM ^

or "not good" at a particular sport is now basically defined and identified by 6 or 7 years old.  My son is not particularly athletically inclined so he was basically being "benched" in instructional leagues.  It was ridiculous, and really adversely impacted his desire to want to do them.  I am not a person sitting here advocating for "participation medals" but these sports should truly just be "games" for a few years without being taken so seriously. I am steering him more toward like golf and swimming, individual sports where he can progress without judgment.

MonkeyMan

October 14th, 2015 at 1:55 PM ^

To be fair- most youth leagues do a good job at encouraging coaches to play all kids and to remember that the point of it all is the child- not winning. There will always be crazy parents and coaches who put winning ahead of everything- but they are not anywhere close to the majority.

Youth football is about the kids- when you get to high schools then you are closer to the adult business world and playing time gets more aligned to skill. But even then, the weaker players should get time when the score doesn't matter so much.

My ow kid is not the greatest player buthis coach is doing a good job playing everyone and I am proud of him for that. Parents will eventually leave and not enter kids if they paid for youth leagues but get shafted by the coaches who don't play their kids.  

Participation in footall is trending downwards in the burbs due to concussion fears- coaches not playing kids will probably kill it some more.

the real hail_yes

October 14th, 2015 at 2:24 PM ^

Thats unfortunate, and as the father of an 18 month old boy I have to say that I am not looking forward to having to navigate these situations.

What I found pretty interesting about the article I read was that the parents were mostly encouraging specialization with the hopes of having the kids earn a college scholarship. Which seemed really selfish, and I'm glad my parents never put that pressure on me!

robpollard

October 14th, 2015 at 3:08 PM ^

As the father of an 8-year old, I can tell you that you have to adjust your expectations (a bit) and make conscious choices. For example, soccer is one of the most time-intensive and parent-obsessed sports -- there are travel teams almost as soon as they can walk. Unless your kid *really* likes soccer, just avoid them. There are rec leagues, and if those don't work for you, plenty of other sports. Parents sometimes sign their kids up for travel leagues b/c the parents want it ("hey, my kid is on a "club team" ; little Johnny is awesome! Therfore, I am awesome") but I've easily gotten past that; I'm sure you can too.

Flag football is one that has become much more popular in the last 5 years. The league is, overall, well-run with the SE Michigan director explicitly telling coaches during the rec-league coaches meeting that if its important to them that their team win, they should either sign their team up for the competitive division or resign. That doesn't totally nip things in the bud, but I've been through about 8 seasons and found that coaches and parents essentially respect that.

If you have a bad experience with a coach (e.g., he's not playing your kid b/c he wants to win), just inform the league -- trust me, they'll talk to that coach. It might stink for that season, but chances are, it will be better the next time.

Dubs

October 14th, 2015 at 1:26 PM ^

I can't tell you how many times I got cornered by a parent that told me what defense I should run or who I should play where.  The head coach (and my good friend) was verbally berated by a parent in the locker room when he claimed his son broke his arm during practice and we did nothing about it.  I don't think I've ever heard that many four letter words in a 30 second time span.

The kid showed up the next day for practice with a nice bruise on his forearm, but that was it.  No time missed.  No apology from dad.  Ever.

StephenRKass

October 14th, 2015 at 1:30 PM ^

Mgrowold, I hear you. I'm not a coach, but I think our son's coaches are sometimes kind of amazed that we support them, that we don't feel he needs to start, or play a particular position, etc. I make it to most of my son's games, but my life doesn't revolve around his and his twin sister's sports schedules. I sometimes want to say to some of the fellow parents, get a life! The sun doesn't rise and set on your kid, or mine. I have no illusions about how far our son will go . . . but he is still having fun and playing hard, and that's good enough for me.

MGoStretch

October 14th, 2015 at 2:16 PM ^

youth soccer as a way to make some extra cash when I was younger and more athletic.  I once reffed a game of middle schooler and the coach pulled his entire team off the field and forfeighted the game when he didn't agree with a call.  It could've been worse.  When I called to report the incident to the league, they weren't surprised.  The previous week, the parents of the team had blocked the ref's car into the parking spot so they could surround his car and berate him.  That dude ended up having to call the cops.  Cool story bro.

Moral of the story: Sports parents be cray.

michigandune

October 14th, 2015 at 3:34 PM ^

When my son played soccer, when he was about 10, it was unbelievable how some parents acted. Most were ok, but you always had one or two on the opposing team that were just hotheads. Either screaming at the ref or screaming at their own coach for yelling at their kid. You would have liked to tell them to be quiet, but in today’s world if you say anything, these type of people just go postal. Very difficult to understand the thought process behind these parents, I was embarrassed for them, but then again they didn’t give a shit.

JamieH

October 14th, 2015 at 1:18 PM ^

Who the hell would support a rididulous action like this? 

I think a good chunk of college and pro refs suck at their jobs, but doing something like this to them is still a criminal act that shoudl result in someone going to jail.  And yet someone did it to some YOUTH football refs?  YOUTH FOOTBALL? 

Sickening.

 

 

JamieH

October 14th, 2015 at 1:52 PM ^

It is advocating the murder of youth officials, or at the very least, it is intended to intimidate those officials through threats of violence.  That isn't a political statement.  It is lunacy.

I don't care what your political positions are, or what your views on guns are.   Anyone that supports bullshit like this has something seriously screwed up in their head.