Just like the title of the 1980's hit by the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, sometimes "Parents Just Don't Understand." For the staff at Buffalo Grove Park District in Illinois, this means attacking a long-time issue in another direction.
As Mike Terson, the mastermind behind this sign and the marketing director at Buffalo Grove Park District put it, "I really wanted to get the message across effectively in order to have an impact on people's behavior."
The message was going to come across in a way that could relate to everyone though. He didn't want it to come off sounding like a city mandate spelled out in "municipal" code, but there was an immediate need for parents to be reminded of the goal of youth sports.
Mike got signs approved to be displayed at every game field in the district's area. And even though the signs have only been up for about a week, the message is being received quickly.
Too many times, we unfortunately find adult behavior becomes one of the biggest issues to deal with in youth sports. Motivation behind the way a parent conducts themselves is not aligned with what youth sports is meant to accomplish.
In Buffalo Grove, this new approach confronts the challenge in a fresh way. So far, Mike feels the public reaction has been great.
As a former public address announcer for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball and Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, Mike has seen his fair share of reactions in professional sports. He now wonders if these behaviors aren't being brought by the parents into the youth sport environment. And because of this, does the recurring message about youth sports being mainly for fun and socialization become cliché, thus begging for an alternative approach to the issue?
How can we keep the ideals for youth sports in the proper perspective, and directed to the people these children depend on the most—their parents.
For now, it seems Buffalo Grove has set a terrific example.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
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