If you've seen the video on social media already, you'll know this is about a kids' wrestling tournament, wherein some parents get into an altercation at the end of a match. Typical asshole sports parents, right?
But if you read the police report in full, it tells a slightly different story, insofar as it looks like two of those parents--who are married--were looking for a fight all along and--I think--had likely been instructing their kids to push the limit on the rules in order to not only win but potentially injure other kids.
And I'll bet that the story their kids get from all of this, from witnessing their parents get into a fight to knowing their parents got cited by the cops, is along the lines of "mom and dad were just sticking up for themselves, those other people just can handle the fact that their kids aren't as good, you can't let anyone push you around," and so on.
Hopefully, the kids can grow out of their parents.
I've been a keen observer of touchline antics for the past few years, as my son plays soccer at a good level (he's 14 now), for a US academy club of Liverpool FC. I have never been to a game where there isn't ONE of those parents who yells and shouts and gets worked up at their own kid's performance. We have one such father on our team, and his kid is one of the better players. We've had to talk to him about being encouraging, not disparaging, and to see the look of hurt on his son's face when his dad yells at him is heart-breaking.
But most of the ire I see is directed at the refs. Parents are looking for two things: (a) fairness/consistency, and (b) safety. The only time I get angry is when the other team is playing dirty enough to hurt one of our boys, and when that happens I have no hesitation in yelling at the ref to protect them properly.
One thing I've never witnessed (or participated in!) is a confrontation between parents on opposing sides. In fact, this past weekend a father from the other team got sent off by the ref, and as he walked past us we were joking with him. But I'm very conscious that my son sees and hears what goes on on the touchline, so I'd be very quick to stop any abuse of the players, or parental disputes.
When my daughter coached basketball for kids, she often had issues with one coach in particular who was like that. The rule was the 2 coaches would ref as well, because it was a volunteer thing and the purpose was to teach the basics. So Jess would ref one side, and the other coach the other end. When one of his players fouled, he never called it no matter how obvious. She called her own kids out if needed. And she'd say something to him when her kids were getting hurt. She was 16-17 at the time. The coaches from the other teams had issues with him too, but they were adults so he didn't push it as much. The guy was obsessed with winning at all costs and they weren't keeping score.
Sports really can bring out the asshole in some people.
I've been a parent of softball and volleyball players (both girls played both), but volleyball is the one they pursued more seriously for college recruiting, including club travel ball and multi-year high school varsity. I have rarely seen parents be jerks to officials at club tournaments and qualifiers for nationals (these are huge with college coaches in attendance). It does happen on occasion, and the refs put a stop to it immediately. It happened recently at a Las Vegas college recruiting tournament where a parent yelled at a player performing score keeping duties. Real bully behavior from a parent to a teenager. He was told by the refs to leave the area of the court.
What I have seen far more frequently are parents who are really hard on their kids. This ranges from exaggerated head shaking at errors, to loud groans, to verbal smack downs. I feel for the kids.
One of the best coaches we had, a former beach pro and national team player, implored parents to speak only positives to their child on the way home from a game/tournament. I've tried to stick to that request throughout my years as an athlete's parent. My style is to be quietly supportive in the background, film her so she can make her own recruiting videos, and help teach how to be a good teammate and handle the stress of participating in a more serious level of sports. What I do consistently struggle with is finding a balance between a good well-rounded and relaxed family home life, and club sports. That is definitely the bigger challenge for us. We are trying.