Sports

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Little League PSA Benches Obnoxious Parents

May 21, 2008 10:52 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A new Little League commercial asks parents to clean up their acts in the stands. But will sideline offenders listen or just keep yelling?

30-Second Summary

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Not a season goes by without reports of some unsavory incident between parents and coaches at a youth sports event.

Some incidents have involved violence, like the Philadelphia man who pulled a gun on his son’s peewee football coach because the boy wasn’t getting enough playing time. A more typical example comes from parents in Concord, N.H., who, unhappy with a series of calls made by the umpires at a Little League Baseball game last year, “expressed their displeasure with the umpires by showering them with vulgarities, threatening them and confronting them face-to-face after the game,” Fox News reported.

Now, as the little boys and girls of summer pile into dugouts all over the country, Little League Baseball hopes to discourage the obnoxious habits of some parents by airing a 15-second public service announcement on ESPN. The PSA depicts a 10-year-old boy berating his father for his lackluster cheering, and ends with the message, “Now you know how it feels. Just let them play.”

Kevin Smith at The Angry Fan blog blames parents for the degeneration of fan behavior. “Parents and youth coaches are regularly setting a horrible example for future generations,” Smith writes.

Even the children have begun speaking out. Volleyball player Alex Yensen, 16, told The Washington Post that parent yelling “affects the way you play and the way you think about the game … even if it’s not your parent or the parent of someone else on your team.”

Unfortunately, Little League’s ad may not be enough to get through to some offenders. “This spot is a game effort, but boorishness is not an affliction much sensitive to consciousness raising,” writes Bob Garfield of Advertising Age.

Headline Link: ‘PSA Won't Change Perennial Parental Bleacher Creatures’

Background: Combating crass behavior

Analysis: ‘For Whom The Yell Tolls’

Opinion: ‘Mob Mentality’

Related Topics: The dark side of fandom at youth games and in college

Reference: Little League’s Parent Pledge and tips for parents of child athletes

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