Most of us have attended athletic events from Little League through high school and experienced obnoxious fans heckling coaches, officials and sometimes even student athletes during a game.
Nothing destroys a child's self-esteem more than screamed criticism and nothing ruins the game experience for the rest of the crowd like a poor sport. Now the East Liverpool Board of Education is trying to do something about this unsportsmanlike behavior among fans, or at least among parents.
On Monday the board adopted a parents' code of conduct, recommended by the athletic committee.
Parents of all student athletes within the school district will be required to sign the code of conduct before their child is permitted to participate in sports.
The code of conduct specifies that, should a parent be ejected from a game, he or she will be prohibited from attending the same number of games his/her child would have to sit out if ejected, for example, two games for a first offense.
A second ejection will result in a suspension from all games in all sports the remainder of the school year.
Other provisions in the code of conduct ask parents to:
-- Encourage good sportsmanship by demonstrating positive support for all players, coaches, fans and officials at games, practices and other sporting events
-- Place the well-being of the team before a personal desire to win
-- Encourage their child to play by the rules and respect the other players, coaches, fans and officials.
It's sad that it had to come to this, but civility and common sense are not attributes that everyone possesses or displays anymore. And some people, who normally have good sense, seem to lose it the minute they walk through the doors or gates of an athletic event, especially when their child is involved.
While we know that parents aren't the only fans who display bad sportsmanship at games, perhaps if parents are on their best behavior they'll set a good example for other fans and discourage them from becoming unruly. One thing for certain, they'll set a better example for their own children and generations to come.
Kudos to the East Liverpool Board of Education for passing this parents' code of conduct. Other school districts should consider these as well.