Mom! It's only a game

Parents can make youth sports miserable. Irate dads scream at referees while their child stands embarrassed on the field. Moms rant at coaches for not playing their kid enough. But in central Florida, that's about to change. The Jupiter-Tequesta Athletic Association - a 6,000-member youth sports program - will not let children participate in any of its sports programs unless their parents have signed a code of ethics and attended a 20-minute video drilling parents on sideline manners. So parents, cut the grandstand grousing. Your kids will thank you.

Here is the Parents' Code of Ethics, developed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports.

I hereby pledge to provide positive support, care, and encouragement for my child participating in youth sports by following this Parents' Code of Ethics Pledge.

*I will encourage good sportsmanship by demonstrating positive support for all players, coaches, and officials at every game, practice, or other youth sports event.

*I will place the emotional and physical well-being of my child ahead of a personal desire to win.

*I will insist that my child play in a safe and healthy environment.

*I will support coaches and officials working with my child, in order to encourage a positive and enjoyable experience for all.

*I will demand a sports environment for my child that is free of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol, and will refrain from their use at all youth sports events.

*I will remember that the game is for youths - not for adults.

*I will do my very best to make youth sports fun for my child.

*I will ask my child to treat other players, coaches, fans, and officials with respect regardless of race, sex, creed, or ability.

*I will help my child enjoy the youth sports experience by doing whatever I can, such as being a respectful fan, assisting with coaching, or providing transportation.

*I will require that my child's coach be trained in the responsibilities of being a youth sports coach and that the coach upholds the Coaches' Code of Ethics.

*I will read the National Standards for Youth Sports and do what I can to help all youth sports organizations implement and enforce them.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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