Bad behavior at sporting events, and what a community plans to do about it

Sports

It seems like every week, we see another bad behavior incident at sporting events. One of the real problems at games, however, is the behavior of parents. News 8’s Erik Dobratz has more on why this is happening and what one school is doing to help bring a more positive experience to games.

Over the years, parents have become much more verbally abusive toward, specifically, the officials. Go on YouTube and search for parents behaving badly at youth sporting events, and you’ll find thousands of videos to choose from.

Marty Tangredi has been officiating youth hockey in Connecticut for almost 30 years and he says parental behavior has never been worse. Fans have verbally abused players, coaches and officials for years, but now it can even get physical.

“After a game, one time I had a parent that I didnt even know, and we had an altercation in the game. A couple players were led off the ice during the game and I had a parent walking around toward the door we were exiting. He actually put his hands on me and ripped my shirt off. It’s a traumatic experience even as an adult,” Marty Tangredi.

Lauren Sardi is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Quinnipiac University, and she agrees that parental behavior at sporting events is a problem.

“Parents are very heavily invested in their children’s future. For some, it’s something that they’ve spent a lot of time and money and they’ve made a lot of sacrfices in order to help their children be successful.”

Despite the issues with parents, students all over our state have really turned up the spirit at games. They’ve taken it one step further at Brookfield High School, where the Bobcats not only win on the field, but off of it as well.

For the last three years, the school encourages students to sign the Class Act Pledge, with respect and positivity as the key words for the agreement.

“We have a Class Act Council that has 57 athletes and they talk about what’s going on in the stands, the court. We also have captains meet with the principal and I’ll meet with them regularly to talk about expectations.” 

Earlier this month, Brookfield Athletic Director Stephen Baldwin invited students to the local Chick-fil-A. Council members signed up more students and talked about why this is so important.

“We focus on being positive because it boosts our team and we focus on boosting our team rather than hurting the others,” Jamie Hiatrides, Brookfield Junior.

“It’s grown a lot in just the four years that I’ve been here. It’s definitely escalated into something a lot better and more beneficial to our school, and I think it will go in the right direction,” Jenna Joshi, Senior.

“They know it’s the right thing to do. They’ve taken ownership of it, I’ve talked about it, and they want this. This is their idea,” Baldwin.

So the students are working on ways to behave at sporting events, but how do we get parents to follow their lead? 

“I think parents should put themselves in the situation where, what if your child was the referee and you were yelling at the referee or someone else was yelling about your child? How are we going to teach our kids how to act if we act like that ourselves,” Tangredi. 

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