Umpires refuse to work Taunton Little League Games

LogansDad

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I wish they would post the names of the assholes who were out there threatening them in front of a bunch of kids. Knowing that they will be anonymous outside of their core group of like-minded assholes is part of the reason they keep doing this shit.
 

luckiestman

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I would ban parents from games. There are enough cheap cameras that parents can go sit in their fucking car and watch the stream. Parents are such assholes it is almost unbelievable.
 

Van Everyman

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I’m not sure when it started but in our community, we have kids umpiring girls softball games and reffing soccer games. It’s great experience for the kids who do it. And the fact is, most parents won’t harass 14 and 15-year-old girls who could be their kids. We actually had one incident this year, where one of the parent coaches called an umpire something inappropriate, a bunch of the kids reported it to their parents and that coach was dismissed almost immediately.

It doesn’t solve for what happened in Taunton. But it does reduce the likelihood and it’s a positive thing overall.
 

moondog80

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I would ban parents from games. There are enough cheap cameras that parents can go sit in their fucking car and watch the stream. Parents are such assholes it is almost unbelievable.
Officiating aside, this would result in kids liking youth sports a whole lot more.
 

moondog80

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I’m not sure when it started but in Newton, we have kids umpiring girls softball games and reffing soccer games. It’s great experience for the kids found it. And the fact is, most parents won’t harass 14 and 15-year-old girls who could be their kids. We actually had one incident this year, where one of the parent coaches called an umpire something inappropriate and that coach was dismissed almost immediately.

it doesn’t solve for what happened in Taunton. But it does reduce the likelihood and it’s a positive thing overall.
Yeah, my 14 year old umpires baseball. It's a great experience for him and I think you are right that it will filter out most (though not all) of the negative crap. And honestly, I hope he does catch a little bit of crap, just as a life lesson on how stupid people can be (even otherwise intelligent ones) and to help him empathize with what people have to put up with sometimes.
 

Doug Beerabelli

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I’m not sure when it started but in Newton, we have kids umpiring girls softball games and reffing soccer games. It’s great experience for the kids found it. And the fact is, most parents won’t harass 14 and 15-year-old girls who could be their kids. We actually had one incident this year, where one of the parent coaches called an umpire something inappropriate and that coach was dismissed almost immediately.

it doesn’t solve for what happened in Taunton. But it does reduce the likelihood and it’s a positive thing overall.
My town does this for baseball and soccer, too. Umps can start at about 14-15 years old. The soccer stuff, the kids can be lines judges (offsides, OOB etc) at 11 or 12. My son did the soccer thing for a bit, and I made sure I attended to keep an eye on things. It went well - some occasional parent grumbling, but nothing big at all. Great learning experience.

And yes, kick out any spectator that crosses the line, especially with the younger kids.
 

reggiecleveland

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I was at a big AAU summer league tournament in Seattle in 2019. All the spectators had to go online and agree to the rules about not talking to refs, respect, boilerplate stuff. I admit I didn't read it all. Suddenly the clocks on all six courses stopped. A parent at another court had been booted out, and the rule was all games stop, until the person leave the gym. Very effective.
 

Zedia

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Yeah, my 14 year old umpires baseball. It's a great experience for him and I think you are right that it will filter out most (though not all) of the negative crap. And honestly, I hope he does catch a little bit of crap, just as a life lesson on how stupid people can be (even otherwise intelligent ones) and to help him empathize with what people have to put up with sometimes.
When I was 12 or so I umped a peewee game (regular ump didn't show). Some other kid in the stands gave me shit all game. We had a fight afterwards and he beat my ass pretty good. Then my friend (a girl) beat the absolute shit out of him. Multiple lessons were learned that day.
 

snowmanny

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Officiating aside, this would result in kids liking youth sports a whole lot more.
This is a good point. I made sure as a good parent to go to all of my kids games. But, looking back on when I was a kid and now that you mention it, I never gave a crap as to whether my parents were there or not. Or perhaps it was marginally less fun when they were there because I didn’t want to strike out or whatever in front of them.
 

chrisfont9

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I've been a little league ump. I took no shit from parents because I got off my (fat?) ass and volunteered to do a job that they didn't bother with. And would tell them that if I heard from them. But people in Seattle are relatively nice, or at least conflict-averse, compared to these narcissistic shitbag monsters in Taunton. Do they think their kids like this?
 

chrisfont9

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My town does this for baseball and soccer, too. Umps can start at about 14-15 years old. The soccer stuff, the kids can be lines judges (offsides, OOB etc) at 11 or 12. My son did the soccer thing for a bit, and I made sure I attended to keep an eye on things. It went well - some occasional parent grumbling, but nothing big at all. Great learning experience.

And yes, kick out any spectator that crosses the line, especially with the younger kids.
That's a great idea, below Majors at least. At Majors, the pitching is fast and the situations are complicated, although if a kid spent a year umping Minors, he'd probably be ready.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I argued with a little league ump once. I mean nothing like the article, but he heard me say something from the stands, gave me a warning, and I kind of got one last little lick in. I got a "next time you're booted" warning. I think he knew I was right, though.

To say that stuff like that is not my style is an understatement. And I genuinely did not give two shits about who won or lost DDB Jr.s little league games. People were looking at me a little weird. I don't know what got in to me. One of those little moments in life where you sort of realize we're all capable of being assholes in the right conditions. I was annoyed by the injustice of it, and in the moment lacked perspective. It was weird. Many years later and I still think about it.
 

Van Everyman

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When I was 12 or so I umped a peewee game (regular ump didn't show). Some other kid in the stands gave me shit all game. We had a fight afterwards and he beat my ass pretty good. Then my friend (a girl) beat the absolute shit out of him. Multiple lessons were learned that day.
That’s fucking awesome.
 

Joe D Reid

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I’m not sure when it started but in our community, we have kids umpiring girls softball games and reffing soccer games. It’s great experience for the kids who do it. And the fact is, most parents won’t harass 14 and 15-year-old girls who could be their kids. We actually had one incident this year, where one of the parent coaches called an umpire something inappropriate, a bunch of the kids reported it to their parents and that coach was dismissed almost immediately.

It doesn’t solve for what happened in Taunton. But it does reduce the likelihood and it’s a positive thing overall.
There was a kid that age reffing one of my daughter's U10 team games. One of the coaches from the other town was yapping so much that the kid went over and showed him a yellow card, which apparently they only carry for this express purpose. Yielded the biggest cheer of the year from the assembled parents.

I should say that all the rest of the games have been just lovely and that perhaps Taunton and Billerica should just form their own screaming-permitted league.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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We should have a program in the U.S. where anyone who wants to watch sports has to ref a game of some sort. Like the way some countries have compulsory military service. One of those 10x as hard as it looks things.
 

Ale Xander

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There was a kid that age reffing one of my daughter's U10 team games. One of the coaches from the other town was yapping so much that the kid went over and showed him a yellow card, which apparently they only carry for this express purpose. Yielded the biggest cheer of the year from the assembled parents.

I should say that all the rest of the games have been just lovely and that perhaps Taunton and Billerica should just form their own screaming-permitted league.
That commute is insane though. It would be like putting West Virginia in the Big 12, and UCLA in the Big 10

oh wait . .
 

moondog80

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I argued with a little league ump once. I mean nothing like the article, but he heard me say something from the stands, gave me a warning, and I kind of got one last little lick in. I got a "next time you're booted" warning. I think he knew I was right, though.

To say that stuff like that is not my style is an understatement. And I genuinely did not give two shits about who won or lost DDB Jr.s little league games. People were looking at me a little weird. I don't know what got in to me. One of those little moments in life where you sort of realize we're all capable of being assholes in the right conditions. I was annoyed by the injustice of it, and in the moment lacked perspective. It was weird. Many years later and I still think about it.
I think this is right. Youth sports brings out powerful emotions in most people. My kids aren't great athletes but have both found their niche as solid varsity performers on the HS sports scene. They've both had their moments when they've shined and make huge contributions in big spots, and those moments produce way, way more excitement in me than say, when they were named in the top 10% of their class academically. And I'm levelheaded enough to know that the latter is far more important than the former. Still, there is just nothing like the feeling of a great moment on the athletic field. But there's a darkside to that, and sometimes this is the result.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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I've been umpiring a game and had a dad I knew start chirping from the sidelines and have to ask him to knock it off and had him reply, "What are you going to do about it?"

Yeah, that guy's an umpire.

Little League does strange things to some people. I've seen crazy shit happen at soccer games, for sure, but I think it's a little different because the ref is running around. When you're behind the plate, there's nowhere to go and sometimes people just let you have it.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I've been umpiring a game and had a dad I knew start chirping from the sidelines and have to ask him to knock it off and had him reply, "What are you going to do about it?"

Yeah, that guy's an umpire.

Little League does strange things to some people. I've seen crazy shit happen at soccer games, for sure, but I think it's a little different because the ref is running around. When you're behind the plate, there's nowhere to go and sometimes people just let you have it.
Don't make shitty calls and you have nothing to worry about.
 

Rice4HOF

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We should have a program in the U.S. where anyone who wants to watch sports has to ref a game of some sort. Like the way some countries have compulsory military service. One of those 10x as hard as it looks things.
I umpire at a fairly high level, and I would be happy if just the coaches would have to take a baseball rules course before being allowed to coach. I can put up with fans yelling or booing, I just ignore that crap. But the number of coaches - some who were ex-players, either in the minors or semi pro leagues - who don't know some rules, and want to argue a rule call is ridiculous.
 

jayhoz

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Pretty sure this was already posted somewhere, but makes sense here as well.

If little league parents in Deptford Township, N.J. have issues with the umpires, they will have to step on the diamond and make the calls themselves. The Deptford Township Little League has implemented a new policy that any spectator who argues with an umpire must serve as a volunteer ump for three games, per a report from WPVI-TV.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Leaving in a bit to the studio :)
I umpire at a fairly high level, and I would be happy if just the coaches would have to take a baseball rules course before being allowed to coach. I can put up with fans yelling or booing, I just ignore that crap. But the number of coaches - some who were ex-players, either in the minors or semi pro leagues - who don't know some rules, and want to argue a rule call is ridiculous.
Soccer, too. But when the coach is an adult (say, in his 40s), and the refs, tho nationally certified and current players, are in their mid teens, it can get very "I know more/better than you do!".

I was the ref coordinator for our eight town rec league, and I know of two of our refs who dialed 911 as they were being followed to the parking lot. In NJ, whatever you do to a working ref carries the same weight criminally as if you had done it to a cop.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Little League does strange things to some people. I've seen crazy shit happen at soccer games, for sure, but I think it's a little different because the ref is running around. When you're behind the plate, there's nowhere to go and sometimes people just let you have it.
My son plays VB and in VB they make the players ref or keep score, which I guess is good for them and usually works out well (except this one time when it seemed like this girl wasn't even looking before making a call).

But the parents are generally well behaved in VB for some reason and in two season I have not seen one argument with a head ref.

Good for the umps. It amazes me this shit still goes on to the extent it does, especially with the shortage of people willing to officiate youth sports contests.
Funny part is that the abuse is counterproductive as any decent ref isn't going to spend her/his time taking it and all that's left are the really bad ones.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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I umped girls softball when I was like 15. There was one game, I'm assuming we are talking 8-10 year olds were playing. There was a walk-off win on a hit to the outfield. The coach challenged that the girl who scored the winning run missed third base. The coach had been talking very loudly to his players to explain how to challenge the play and to not worry, she was DEFINITELY out and the game would continue. I was the only ump (behind the mound) and called safe. He moaned about it that I need to pay more attention. Like loudly to his player's parents. In the parking lot, he asked me if I saw her touch third base or I couldn't call out because I wasn't watching.

I asked him if it mattered, the game was settled. He laughed and said he was hoping he could trick me. I looked at him at told him he was a fucking loser and pathetic. His face told he that he did not expect that response.
 

8slim

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I’ve seen hockey parents berate 15 and 16 year old refs. It’s horrific and the parents don’t give a shit.
 

Ferm Sheller

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I’ve seen hockey parents berate 15 and 16 year old refs. It’s horrific and the parents don’t give a shit.
If you're in MA, I can tell you the handful of towns that those parents are from. They're uneducated white trash.
 

8slim

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If you're in MA, I can tell you the handful of towns that those parents are from. They're uneducated white trash.
CT. But it’s not just a town-specific thing. Happens everywhere.

Hell, at my son’s HS lacrosse game last week, a parent threatened to fight him and a teammate. Also called them a Homophobic slur.

Parents are the absolute worst.
 

Andy Merchant

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Man, the tournaments at the Taunton West baseball fields in the 1980s were a highlight of my childhood. We played on mud and crabgrass in my town, but Taunton West had bullpens and a warning track and a PA announcer. I was thrilled when I stepped into the batters box and the announcer actually pronounced my name correctly. :)

Too bad the parents there have to be such idiots. When my son was playing in the 9-10 league in town I saw a teenage ump toss a coach on the opposing team who was acting like a jackass. I felt like running on the field in the middle of the game and giving that kid a high five.
 

chrisfont9

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Man, the tournaments at the Taunton West baseball fields in the 1980s were a highlight of my childhood. We played on mud and crabgrass in my town, but Taunton West had bullpens and a warning track and a PA announcer. I was thrilled when I stepped into the batters box and the announcer actually pronounced my name correctly. :)

Too bad the parents there have to be such idiots. When my son was playing in the 9-10 league in town I saw a teenage ump toss a coach on the opposing team who was acting like a jackass. I felt like running on the field in the middle of the game and giving that kid a high five.
That's so great on many levels.
 

joe dokes

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I umpire at a fairly high level, and I would be happy if just the coaches would have to take a baseball rules course before being allowed to coach. I can put up with fans yelling or booing, I just ignore that crap. But the number of coaches - some who were ex-players, either in the minors or semi pro leagues - who don't know some rules, and want to argue a rule call is ridiculous.
Especially since a coach's behavior influences fans' behavior in the moment.

One coach of my daughter's softball coaches (u12 or so) got into it with an ump because the other teams 1Bman tagged the base with her empty glove after bobbling and then picking up a grounder with her bare hand. Ump called batter out, correctly.
Coach goes ballistic, fans yell, players get pissed/confused/distracted.
Of 20 parents, maybe 4 of us seemed to know the ump was right. ("You don't have to put the ball in your shoe when you step on the base.") We at least got the parents to shut up.
One of them talked to our coach through the fence and pretty much told him to apologize to the ump and the players or he was going to report the coach.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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When I was 12 or so I umped a peewee game (regular ump didn't show). Some other kid in the stands gave me shit all game. We had a fight afterwards and he beat my ass pretty good. Then my friend (a girl) beat the absolute shit out of him. Multiple lessons were learned that day.
I would watch this show.
 

CFB_Rules

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I've been umpiring a game and had a dad I knew start chirping from the sidelines and have to ask him to knock it off and had him reply, "What are you going to do about it?"
“I’m going to hold on to this ball and no kid is going to touch it until you are out of my sight”.

My tolerance for misbehavior decreases with each passing year. I find that young officials put up with too much stuff because they simply think it’s part of the job. I know I certainly did.
 

steveluck7

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In our league we have 14-16 year olds umpiring our minors games. At this point in the season, we let them also do the bases in majors with one of the certified umpires who has agreed to mentor them along.
We’ve got a great set of coaches in the minors so they’re tolerant of missed calls or incorrect interpretations of rules.
what I’ve told these kids is to make a call and stand by it. If they misinterpreted a rule, I talk to them about the situation in between innings to educate them. We’ve had some strange situations with base running (naturally, with 8-9 year olds!) that have been called incorrectly but everyone’s been a good sport about it.
 

kevlog

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Taunton West has always been the best part of town. Right, @kevlog ?
You‘re confused. East Taunton, home of the Beer Can Museum & Hall of Fame, is God’s country. Parents at Taunton EAST Little League games are respectful and kind and just happy to be alive. The hot dogs taste a little better, the Cokes are a bit colder, and fans are still happily doing the wave. Don’t get me started on Taunton West …
 

Humphrey

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I’m not sure when it started but in our community, we have kids umpiring girls softball games and reffing soccer games. It’s great experience for the kids who do it. And the fact is, most parents won’t harass 14 and 15-year-old girls who could be their kids. We actually had one incident this year, where one of the parent coaches called an umpire something inappropriate, a bunch of the kids reported it to their parents and that coach was dismissed almost immediately.

It doesn’t solve for what happened in Taunton. But it does reduce the likelihood and it’s a positive thing overall.
My daughter did soccer for three years, the last year she was not treated very well in a couple of occasions, definitely made her give it up.

The second occasion, the coup de grace so to speak; she and the center ref (me) were threatened with a lawsuit for not calling a foul (and the rest of the game was essentially foul-less, not like it was the culmination of a series of nasty events).

In general, if I'm the center ref and one of my assistants is a kid and they start giving the kid grief, I jump all over them.

Best thing Taunton can do is throw a bunch of parents on the field to finish the season. They won't want to do it going forward, I can assure you.
 

Humphrey

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I've been umpiring a game and had a dad I knew start chirping from the sidelines and have to ask him to knock it off and had him reply, "What are you going to do about it?"

Yeah, that guy's an umpire.

Little League does strange things to some people. I've seen crazy shit happen at soccer games, for sure, but I think it's a little different because the ref is running around. When you're behind the plate, there's nowhere to go and sometimes people just let you have it.
Doing soccer all along; and, in the distant past, Little League and a small bit of high school sub-varsity; I always know I'm in for a long afternoon/evening when the first words out of a coach's mouth are "I'm a referee/umpire too".
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Leaving in a bit to the studio :)
Little League does strange things to some people.

When you're behind the plate, there's nowhere to go and sometimes people just let you have it.
Our small boro had to put up black wraps/tarps on the fences behind home plate on ALL of our softball fields because of one particular Dad who would stand behind the home plate fence whenever his daughter pitched and provide a running 'commentary' the entire game.
 

Eagle3

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I was on my town's Little Leage Board of Directors for 14 years starting in 2001. I could write a book on parents being idiots. We had a lot of problems with people verbally abusing umps until we put in a zero tolerance rule. Every parent and coach had to sign a document acknowledging the policy that said umps or board members could eject anyone from the field who was harassing umps, and coaches weren't allowed to question calls unless a rule was applied incorrectly. It got much better after that. Of course the coaches still tried to work the umps, but they were more subtle about it. Directly questioning the umps about balls and strikes changed to yelling out to the pitcher "great pitch Timmy, not sure where that missed".

The biggest challenge was always dealing with parents who think their kid has way more talent than they really do. That was the root cause of the majority of the problems every year.
 

AlNipper49

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It is insane. Want a hack to actually get the umps on your side? Teach the kids to thank the umps as part of the handshake line after the game. It teaches the kids gamesmanship and most umps will remember that almost as much as keeping a mental note of which coaches are dicks.
 

luckiestman

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I broke out some new material on the fields today. Some parent was going apeshit about a pre snap penalty not being called (7 year old kids playing), a lot of other parents were looking at him like he was nuts and I said “cut him some slack, he’s live betting this on fan duel”.
 

moondog80

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I broke out some new material on the fields today. Some parent was going apeshit about a pre snap penalty not being called (7 year old kids playing), a lot of other parents were looking at him like he was nuts and I said “cut him some slack, he’s live betting this on fan duel”.
In the moment, that's not a bad way to deal with this sort of thing. I've had to confront parents for yelling at kid umps. Once I got mad and yelled at the guy, another time I said "hey, come on, that's a 14 year old kid". Regardless of what the parent "deserved", the latter worked a lot better.
 

Dummy Hoy

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If you're in MA, I can tell you the handful of towns that those parents are from. They're uneducated white trash.
The fuck are you talking about? I’ve seen horrible behavior from parents from some of the richest towns at some of the nicest rinks. It’s a universal trait in hockey and it sucks.

Source: Me, who has coached hockey for 15 years from learn to skate through college.
 

CFB_Rules

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The fuck are you talking about? I’ve seen horrible behavior from parents from some of the richest towns at some of the nicest rinks. It’s a universal trait in hockey and it sucks.

Source: Me, who has coached hockey for 15 years from learn to skate through college.
I'll double down here, the only fan I've ever personally removed was years ago at the richest private high school in the state (that sponsored football, at least).

Basketball is worse. I've heard of guys tossing the school's principal, which always turns into a fun little turf war.
 

Van Everyman

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If you're in MA, I can tell you the handful of towns that those parents are from. They're uneducated white trash.
The fuck are you talking about? I’ve seen horrible behavior from parents from some of the richest towns at some of the nicest rinks. It’s a universal trait in hockey and it sucks.

Source: Me, who has coached hockey for 15 years from learn to skate through college.
My wife and I have found that some of the poorer towns often have some of the more difficult softball parents and coaches. Not all, for sure. But our read on it is that … for some of the more economically depressed places, there’s not always a lot of other stuff to cheer about. They don’t always have access to personal coaches and great equipment. So I get being maybe a little too wrapped up in a 13 year old’s softball game and predisposed to be pissed at the other side.

Having watched this dynamic play out over several years, more recently we have made an effort to show a little extra understanding when a call is missed in our favor or somebody on the other sideline loses their mind. And, we cheer the other teams’ kids loudly for a good play (which is a good rule of thumb anyway).Overall it helps to actively try not to be the entitled assholes from the richer towns.

It doesn’t always work but my sense is that trying to take the high road in these instances and being generous helps calm tempers and sets a good example for the kids.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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I'll double down here, the only fan I've ever personally removed was years ago at the richest private high school in the state (that sponsored football, at least).

Basketball is worse. I've heard of guys tossing the school's principal, which always turns into a fun little turf war.
Only dude I've ever seen get tossed from a high school game was a Harvard educated ER doc. He'd stand right behind the screen when his kid pitched and offer an opinion on every call. Was so happy when the ump tossed him. I fear for that household though. No way that guy doesn't throw his hands around. Such an asshole.
 

AlNipper49

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I help coach three teams. One of the things I make sure that parents get is that any kid on one of my/our teams is not going to be a professional baseball player. When the rare negative parent interaction comes up I usually volunteer that information again, and suggest that if they want to treat this as professional prep then perhaps it’s not a great match.

It’s dumb sports games. Kids play it because it’s fun. Parents like sports because it’s fun but can also develop some positive things in their lives. Yelling at $10/hr should-be-retired dudes isn’t a positive personality trait we need to be imprinting on kids.

It’s only not worked on one parent for me. I can’t shake her. Her kid is a real piece of shit too.