Pledging to Be the “Right” Parent of a High School Athlete

Just over a month ago, I posted somewhat of a diatribe about how poorly the high school ice hockey league in the St. Louis metro area is run. I’m sad to say that the issue did not resolve itself as I had hoped.

In the end, my son’s public high school will not be able to field an ice hockey team for the 2010-2011 season. Instead of allowing us to merge his school’s program with another from a nearby school, the adults that manage the league want to disperse the kids to other teams via a draft or the equivalent of free agency.

The dispute I and other parents have with the Mid States Hockey Association is a bit political.  It’s two sides with different opinions, both of which seem logical to the holder of the opinions.  I won’t rehash the argument here.  Like many political arguments, the dispute is not, at this point, resolvable.

I am able to justify the blog post and a couple of widely broadcast emails because I believe I was doing what I needed to do as a parent to support my child.  Upon reflection, however, I suspect some other parents or the leaders of Mid States didn’t perceive my actions in the same way.  I wonder if others thought I was lobbying for my son in a way that put my son above the others because my son is “special.”  That’s certainly not what I intend.  I never want to become that ugly parent of an athlete that clearly thinks his child is above everyone else.  I want to be known as a supportive, fair parent, who encourages his son to play to the best of his ability.

I pledge to be the “right” parent.  Specifically:

  1. I will make sure that my son attends every practice and every game, except for illnesses or for schoolwork problems.
  2. I will attend every game that does not conflict with other family obligations or business trips out of town.  If I cannot attend, my wife will do her best to attend.
  3. I will support the coaches’ decisions when my son complains and encourage him to raise any concerns to the coaches and not to me or his mom.
  4. I pledge not to talk to my son or yell at my son to do something in the middle of the game.
  5. I will allow the coaches to make their own strategic decisions, playing time decisions, and playing position decisions.
  6. If I want to talk with the coach, I will do so privately, but not within 24 hours after the end of a game.  This will give me time to reconsider or calm down, if I am frustrated.
  7. I will not talk negatively about my son’s teammates’ abilities.
  8. I will not denigrate the opponents loudly during the game.
  9. I will volunteer to assist the team in score-keeping, fund-raising or other role.
  10. I will make sure that all fees we owe for the team are paid.

Are these the right things to focus on?  Tell me what you think.

Does it make sense to list out these things and have all the parents sign a pledge?  Personally, I think so.


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