What to do about obnoxious sports parents

diving off the blocks
My daughter diving during at a swim meet where the swimmers were selected from So Cal teams.

As a swim parent, I saw my share of obnoxious swim parents. And I had my own moments of not being able to contain myself — although not to the point of punching a ref out — or yelling at a coach.

I saw so many parents taking over their kids’ sports, coaching from the stands, and yelling at their children when they had a less than awesome swim, that I wrote weekly articles with sports parenting tips. You can read them on SwimSwam Parent Tips on my blog or on SwimSwam HERE.

We hear about “those” parents in the news. Their videos of violence on the field or gym go viral.

I saw an article today that had the perfect solution. Duct tape.

Here’s an excerpt from the NY Post’s “The solution to obnoxious sports parents? Duct tape” by  Kyle Smith:

Last July, a woman on a flight from Dallas to Charlotte bit a flight attendant, then tried to open a door to the plane while screaming. Crisis was averted when she was duct-taped to her seat

An excellent start! Now let’s get out the duct tape for sports parents, who need to sit down, shut up and remember that Pee Wee football is not the Super Bowl. In Mississippi this month, an umpire presiding over a ballgame played by 12-year-olds was punched in the face and given a black eye by a woman wearing a Mother of the Year shirt who had been thrown out of the stands for cursing. “It gets harder and harder to staff these tournaments because no one wants to listen to the verbal abuse and run the risk of what happened to me happening to them,” the umpire, Kristie More, told WLBT

Like other forms of bad behavior (deaths in car crashes are way up), hyper-reactive-sports-parenting seems to have spiked during the pandemic, when tempers have been running as hot as Bidenflation. Even before that, anyone who was thinking about helping out the kids by signing up to be an umpire or a referee would have been smart to buy a Kevlar jacket and make sure his insurance was paid up. “There has been a huge drop off in the number of available referees and officials in youth sports due to the obnoxious behavior of parents,” Rick Wolff host of WFAN radio’s “The Sports Edge” told The Washington Post in 2020


I highly suggest you read the article. It’s funny, but highlights what’s wrong with public discourse in today’s world.

What’s the most obnoxious thing you’ve seen parents do? What solutions do you have? Do you think things have gotten worse since the COVID shutdowns?

11 thoughts on “What to do about obnoxious sports parents

  1. One of the worst things about youth sports, and behavior like this has been around long before Covid. I saw crap happen with each of my kids playing sports for “fun” even as low level as T-ball and a parent screaming in the face of a youth referee. I’m honestly glad they all chose to move away from sports teams and find other interests, although it would never have surprised me to see the same ridiculous parents stand up and shout during a band performance because their kid didn’t make first chair clarinet.

  2. When my daughter was about four we were at the Children’s museum. This boy, same age, took a toy out of my daughters hands. I made a face to my husband. The mother of the boy started yelling at me about how the toys are to share and I shouldn’t belittle her son or accuse her of bad parenting. Remember, all I did was make a face to my husband…. Another time a kid wore an opera cape to kindergarten. Another kid asked why he was wearing it. The mother of opera kid started yelling at the asker saying that her kid was allowed to wear whatever he wanted and he shouldn’t be shaming him. Again…a five year old asked an innocent question in a regular manner with no reading voice or anything

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