Monday, March 16, 2009

One Time...At A Karate Tournament

My daughter had her first spring soccer game this weekend. The kids only had two weeks of indoor practice before the game. I love watching my daughter play soccer but I hate going to soccer games. Soccer is a great sport but some parents are out of hand. There is so much screaming and carrying on at the games it is ridiculous. Parents are yelling at their kids from the sidelines. I remember one parent in a lounge chair, moving his position up and down the field so he was as close as possible to his daughter. He would scream and scream. It was upsetting for me to watch so I can only imagine how his nine year old daughter felt. There is definitely a difference between cheering and screaming.
The soccer game made me think about a situation that happened at a karate tournament. It was a local tournament that drew a large crowd. My husband was a black belt and I was a kyu rank. He was asked to judge a kids division. It was a large group and the ages were thirteen and under. A young boy, between the age of eight and ten, was the local favorite. He performed a crowd pleasing kata that was more gymnastics than karate. At the end of the division, the kids lined up and the winners were announced. The local favorite won second place. The father of the local favorite came out of the stands and walked on the tournament floor. He picked up the trophy and handed it back to the judges declaring "My son does not accept second place!" The father grabbed his young son by the hand and stormed out of the tournament.

I witnessed this display at the karate tournament long before I was a parent. I has to be over ten years ago, but I am still irked by this situation. What did he teach his son that day? The young boy left the tournament sobbing. He wanted his second place trophy.

I learned a lot that day.

7 comments:

Steve said...

I thought you were going to talk about band camp for a second!

But seriously, I've heard this same situation played out in nearly every sport my kids have participated in. It happens more when the kids are younger (under 10) than when they get older. The kids end up hating the sport - the exact opposite of what the parents intend. In general I see it happen among the less-educated parents. I don't know if there is anything we can do about it, other than be a good example, and hope it rubs off on someone ... but then every already knows better than us anyway.

Michele said...

It good to hear that sporting events get better as the kids get older. My daughter was asked to play goalie because the original goalies were sick. I was proud that she had the courage to try it even though she usually plays offense. I was on the edge of my seat the entire game.

Littlefair said...

You know what...that makes me sort of sick. and I've seen it before at tournaments although nothing as bad as that incident. It makes me think that maybe in some cases these parents are trying to live their lives over again through their kids' lives. They're foisting their aspirations onto their children rather than letting them develop their own goals!

I would love my kids to become interested in and pursue the martial arts and I would offer advice and encouragement along the way. But honestly, if they don't, then that's cool- it's their life. I'd be just as happy if they were passionate about something I wasn't like...swimming, or soccer, or in fact most other sports.

markstraining.com said...

I am not a parent so I cant really say give advice on how a parent should behave in this type of situation, but what I can say is that if I am blessed with children one day, I will be proud of my kids for just trying something even if they finish last.

Michele said...

Littlefair: It makes me sick too. I agree with you about kids. I really would like my daughter to have an interest in karate. She does not and it is ok. She is her own person. However, we did insist that she learn some basic self-defense.

Marks: Children are a blessing. It sounds like you would be a great parent! :)

BobSpar said...

Belated comment... My great virtue as a soccer dad years ago was that I didn't know ANYTHING about soccer. The coaches loved me because I didn't jeer or criticize, I just stood on the sidelines, clapped and said, "Go, Team!" I couldn't tell what was going on and I didn't care that much. I had to bite my tongue a lot more at basketball games because I could see all the mistakes....

Anonymous said...

There are worse things parents can teach their kids than screaming, being rude and being a sore loser. One time I saw a television show where they were following two moms whose sons did kickboxing, the boys must have been around 7 to 8 years old and they were actually made to spar (albeit with protection) which in itself is quite dangerous but then the mothers were screaming from the ringside: kick him harder, lowkick, keep pounding him and so on. It was horrible really: who in the world would condone their kids to indulge in violence and aggression (this clearly wasn’t point-sparring) let alone encourage it? Truly, these people shouldn’t be allowed to raise children, lets just hope those boys don’t get in trouble at school (great parental message: ‘when someone gives you a hard time, just beat them into a bloody pulp’) or even worse: grow up to be thugs and hoodlums. Teaching martial arts to young children is in itself fine and commendable as long as it comes with discipline and respect but basically programming them to become fighting machines without any moral values or judgement is plain wrong, stupid and ridiculous. You have to wonder about some people’s educational objectives and competence.