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Getting Ejected Vs. Sticking Up for the Kids

The Sporting Dad argues with some coaches who don't mind getting tossed from a game.

After barging into an online discussion and then not being able to pull away, I found myself in the very center of a long and intense exchange of opinions.

I've decided on using a few of the quotes for discussion here, but the full discussion can be found on the attached pdf. The posts on this link are numbered to easily indentify the points if you’d like to discuss any of them in the comment section.

As is my policy, I will not use names or locations. I have also removed any referrals to specific children as well as all identifying content. You will have to trust that I’ve taken good care in preserving the integrity of the conversation.

At issue here is whether there are leagues where the tension between coaches and umpires/referees is taking away from keeping the focus on the kids.

Another topic is if a youth coach needs to “fight” for his players during a game in order for them to “believe” in him.

Person #1

Got ejected today! I'm protecting my kids, when did umps become so (darn) sensitive?? It's nothing like when I played? (DARN!!!)

Person # 2

That’s because (it’s) not one of our dads (umpiring).

Person # 3

Lol. You love getting thrown out of games. Last time I saw you at (X’s) softball game you got thrown out (of) there too!! Hahahaha

Person # 4

Everyone is getting soft.

Person # 5

When u played, (it) wasn't like it is now — (too) competitive and u being a chump!!??

Ron Goralski 

Zero tolerance from youth coaches.

Person # 6

Love this. First of the young season?? I am good for (an ejection) every year. Always stick up for your players. Problem is, at that level you get the bottom of the barrel of umpires. Or young, snot-nosed punks with something to prove and the lack of integrity for the game or respect for its past

Ron Goralski 

Seriously?

Person # 1

I'm always defending my guys. Period! But this was ridiculous!

Ron Goralski 

Yeah, but getting thrown out of youth games. C'mon man. That's just wrong (on) so many levels. So many other options. Booooo!

Person # 1 ‎

8th (grade) and freshmen are not youth sports, Ron. It's the changing of the guard. When (we) teach the guys the game of baseball. If you are referring to little league then I'll agree. If not, I feel bad that you were never TRULY taught the GAME!

Ron Goralski

You should be suspended for that! It is still youth sports. Terrible example to set. Even HS coaches need to keep their cool and control themselves. You are wrong, sir.

Person # 1

And high school coaches are ejected every day! I AM suspended for one game! And again, being a fan IS NOT (the same as) knowing the GAME OF BASEBALL!

Ron Goralski 

Glad you were taught how to be confrontational. Knowing the game has nothing to do with being tossed and suspended. NOTHING. You've done nothing to teach the kids that couldn't have waited until after the game. You don't need to act like Billy Martin to teach your teenagers the game, Coach.

Person # 7

How about a change in direction — my daughter dances, when competing there are judges, I would expect her coach/instructor to stand up for her and the dance team if they were unfairly judged. Same is true for musicians, science fairs, academic contests and any arena children are competing against each other.

Ron Goralski

Now you're just playing with me, right? So wait ... you are going to argue with the ccience teacher if you think your child should have gotten a ribbon - but didn't?

Can I ask how old your daughter is?

Person # 7

(Under 10). She plays (baseball) and takes (dance). What I'm saying is this is bigger than sports. It's about life. Wherever there is a competition with kids and coaches/instructors/teachers/mentors I would expect them to stand up for our kids if they feel they were done wrong.

Ron Goralski

Competition is fine. Competition is healthy. But we are clearly too obsessed with results at the youth level. Even into the teen years.

That’s all we have room for here folks. As you can see from the discussion on the attached pdf, Person # 1 is a thoughtful and caring coach who is obviously extremely knowledgeable about the game and cares deeply for his ballplayers.

My intent is not to question the motives or abilities of any of these volunteer coaches. There are issues that go way beyond one person’s behavior and has more to do with the structure, the tradition (for better or for worse), and the foundation that many youth organizations are standing upon.

Person # 1, while taking a proverbial shovel to the head as a result of my irritating digs, helps to unearth that which hides from those of us who crave the answers.

Now it’s a matter of deciding if it’s a hole worth filling.

Kristen Morgan May 04, 2012 at 12:52 PM
It sounds like the folks who think it's acceptable to confront an umpire or a judge have never been in the position of being an umpire or judge. I truly believe that most umps, refs, or judges are doing their best to make fair calls. Sometimes they make bad calls. They are human, remember? Since when has arguing with a game official or judge ever made them change their mind? Or encouraged them to favor you when they encounter you in another game? Respectful questioning and conversation is okay after the event is over, but causing a disruption to the game and embarrassing your kids so that you can show your "superior" knowledge isn't helping anyone.
Concerned Citizen May 04, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I agree with Standing up for your kids if you believe they have been judged unfairly. However, you can do this in a mature, respectable way so that you don't get ejected. How are these kids on the team supposed to learn integrity and respect if they are not shown by example. And I agree with Kristen. Maybe you should try being a ref, or have one of your children be a ref. See how you would feel as a parent when the coach starts screaming obscenities at your 13-17 year old daughter or son who is just trying to do a job (been there, saw that). Sometimes refs make mistakes - and until you have been in their shoes, you can not appreciate how difficult their job is. Yes, there are some bad ones out there - but most of them are trying their best. The ability for a ref to eject a coach or parent is to help promote positive sportsmanship and a positive example for the kids.
Ron Goralski May 04, 2012 at 02:16 PM
HERE IS MORE OF THE CONVERSATION AS PROMISED ABOVE... http://rongoralski.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/the-rest-of-the-discussion-3/ You may also want to go here: http://farmington.patch.com/articles/getting-ejected-vs-sticking-up-for-the-kids-03ffaf71#comment_3227365 to see what others are saying.
GGWH06107 May 04, 2012 at 02:17 PM
A couple of thoughts for the coaches in question: 1. You think you're sticking up for the kids, ok. Half of the kids you're sticking up for are snickering at you behind your back, and the other half are well and truly embarrassed by you. ALL of them are now distracted from the game at hand, as you just turned yourself into a sideshow. 2. In all the games I've watched over the years, I've never seen a coach get a bad call reversed. Have you? 3. What I have seen work on numerous occasions: Call the ref/ump/judge over. Address him/her quietly and respectfully. No, you won't get the bad call reversed. But I can almost *guarantee* you'll get the benefit of the doubt on the next questionable play (the make-up call, if you will). Plus -- special bonus! -- you get to keep your dignity. The kids will learn how functional adults get things done.
teresa hoff May 04, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I think there is a balance that is fine.My son plays ball and one coach he had never said a word saying it was the right thing to do and it will not change the refs mind.What my son and many of the players started to believe after a while is the coach was not their advocate so it started to hurt the team.I am not saying the coach needs to get thrown out but he does need to say things should they be obvious.Also,do not be so nieve to think refs do not do things wrong sometimes purposely when there are friendships with coaches involved I say that because my son has been the recipient of such calls.Also,I do think it can make a difference in calls later on if you stay on top of it as a coach.As was said refs are human and they usually have make up calls if you handle it correctly.Being completely silent is not the answer and getting thrown out is not,everyone finds that area in between that works and some times it goes to far each way.As a parent I never signed one thing or agreed to one thing that said I would just sit quiet and watch the game and I will never.I am my kids advocate in all aspects of his life and how I do that is as much my choice should I choose to say something during a game as those who choose to stay silent.My child has been a ref and my advice was to ignore the crowd and that has been fine.My dad was a ref and he did the same and no problems.If some words at a game are going to really affect your job as a ref maybe you need to try a different profession.
Ron Goralski May 04, 2012 at 02:56 PM
FROM THE RJG INBOX: Ron, I applaud you and your comments regarding this exchange. Is this what youth or high school sports has come to. What do you win in the end. I'm an avid high school sports fan and my son played at college. In the end, 99.9% of these kids will stop playing sports after high school. I wonder if this guy has an issue with his boss at work he argues like he does with umpires and gets fired? Is that what we want to teach our children? If so, there will be many job openngs in the future! Ron you so get it and have great morals and values. Thank you.
ryan pellegrini May 04, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Coming from someone who was a multisport athlete on many different levels. I couldnt disagree more with you Ron. Your coach sticking up for you for a bad call motivates and vindicates the athlete. What we were alway told was. Let me get in trouble i dont pitch the ball or hit the homerun, never EVER argue back with the ump. I have you back when it comes to that. There is no better feeling then knowing you coach has yourside. On a peewee lvl argueing anything is rediculous. But highschool sports i praise a coach who supports his team. And anyone "snickering" behind his coaches back arent a real part of the team and hopefully get there talking too by upper classmen. Clearly you were never an athlete on any level Ron and i hope you never get to post another sports related article again. Go rent the blind side get a little insight into what it means to stick up for your team.
Ron Goralski May 04, 2012 at 05:28 PM
So it's OK for parents to sit on the sidelines and yell at the refs and umps all game? I disagree that it's your choice whether or not to say something during the game to advocate for your child. Can you imagine the scene if every parent did that? Besides cheering and yelling words of encouragement - yes you really should keep out of the other aspects of the game - unless your child's physical being is being threatened. Holy cow! If you were in my league you’d probably be the very reason we would have each parent sign a Parent’s Promise to be Good Sports Form.
Ron Goralski May 04, 2012 at 05:40 PM
We are talking pre-HS coaching here Ryan. And I can think of a 100 better ways to motivate my players Ryan. I'll be back here again next week and most likely the week after too. So feel free to bypass this and head right over to the Beginner's Guide to Grammar website. (Much like Teresa above, I didn't sign anything saying that I had to keep quiet during a comment.)
Wyatt May 04, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Life is unfair and having a kid being judged unfairly is a tough, but good way to learn that lesson. Kids don't need any more coddling by parents - they need to learn that sometimes things don't work out and that sometimes you just need to accept it. Having your parents carry on like overgrown cry-babies only feeds children's overblown sense of entitlement. Will you be there too when your kid is 30 and someone treats him or her unfairly? Parents need to respect umpires and refs and teach their kids how to deal with life.
Ron Goralski May 07, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Hey Coach Tony on ESPN RADIO discussing this topic halfway into the show. I called in towards the end of the show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GkMGlJqUJE&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Ron Goralski May 07, 2012 at 08:33 PM
FROM THE RJG INBOX: I'm glad to have come across your article as I've been doing some research on why girls aren't required to wear helmets in lacrosse. My 11-year old daughter just received a concussion two weeks during a game by getting hit in the forehead by the ball. SHe has been sidelined from all activity and still is getting daily headaches and is extremely tired. I'm very frustrated and am gathering all the information I can on this topic. Thanks for your article - appreciate it.
Danny Donahue Rescue 9-11 June 12, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Well said Ron good article
Marty Salvatore June 12, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I love these articles. The discussions afterwards are such train wrecks. Keep fighting the good fight, man. You wouldn't know it from the comments on most of your articles, but you are NOT on an island.
Ron Goralski June 13, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Thank you.
Ron Goralski June 13, 2012 at 01:35 AM
I appreciate your support!

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