Fostering respect and fair play

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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This is an open letter to all parents involved in sports and, in particular, a few of the Sherwood parents in attendance at the Sherwood Soccer Complex last Tuesday night.

My son plays for RC United and I attended the game with my wife, brother and two nephews who had come from West Prince to see the game. From the beginning there were three or four men (I am assuming their sons were playing) who began complaining about the officiating in a loud and belligerent manner. This behaviour goes against all that amateur sport has tried to promote over the past 10 years.

At a basic level, how would these men feel if they were yelled at and ridiculed in their respective workplaces? How would theyhave felt if the officials had been their sons or daughters? How did their sons feel about the example being set? I wondered why their spouses or friends did not say anything (and it is fair to ask why I did not say anything as well) and if they were as uncomfortable and embarrassed as I was. It took my wife to glance back and give that 'What are you thinking?' look, to create a bit of reflection (I hope?) and then the tone and tenor of their comments improved.

I know my nephews learned a powerful lesson on why they would not want to get involved as youth officials, when the sport needs all the help it can get. It is great to see parents out to support their children, but let's all come to the pitch, gym or arena to cheer on both teams, promote fair play and respect the officials, who make the games possible.

Stephen Porter,

St. Ann's

Organizations: Sherwood Soccer Complex

Geographic location: West Prince

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