Is it Lack of Leadership or No Willingness to Follow?

20 Mar

This weekend, as happens every Spring, I had the pleasure of dealing with the modern “Youth Sports Parent” who was upset. This couple double-barreled our Little League coaching staff after one of us, yours truly, had the temerity to ask the dad to keep his negative comments to his self.

I had to verbally reprimand the father for criticizing one of our players from the stands.  In our league, there is a zero tolerance rule for negative comments.  Ignorant fathers shouting ridiculous comments at 9-year-olds isn’t new in youth sports. What made for an interesting twist was the negativity was directed at a kid who had just hit a triple! Don’t ask, I have no way to explain.

Later, his wife emailed our head coach. She was upset that her husband was ‘belittled’ by one of the coaches (me) and upset he was subjected to such disrespect!  She threatened to have her son quit, she wondered if we just wanted “silence” and questioned our authority and her “First Amendment Right” to say what she wanted from the stands!

All this coming from a family who has two children playing for free in our league.  They are recipients of scholarships that help lower income families get their kids into sports.  Those scholarships are supported by local area businesses, including MJ Everson Financial.

This couple refuses to help get fields prepped, they say they have no time.  They won’t coach, no time. They aren’t on the board, no time. However, they do find time to be a pain in everyone’s rear.  They have refused to remain positive from the stands, in spite of several attempts to reason with them. They have their own child in knots, he is so nervous about dad’s next explosion. Where does this combination of ignorance and sense of entitlement come from?

If you have been to school board meetings, city council sessions, youth sports or just out in “The Public” lately, you’ve surely witnessed the selfish acts of the few attempting to over-ride the general good for the many.  George Lucas could not build on his own Marin County property. An oyster farm in Tomales is being shut down for no good reason.  A pipeline cannot be built to carry oil, so now that oil is on much more dangerous trains. A cyclist or pedestrian is killed because a driver is upset his or her day was delayed for 10 seconds. or worse, the driver can’t be bothered to actually pay attention to the road, not her or his cell phone.

But in these above examples, when reason is attempted to find a solution, it is trumped by raised voices and selfish attitudes.  Being a man oriented toward solutions, I wonder where this path began and how we can work together to change it?

How can we get folks to drive more slowly and pay more attention while doing so?  How can we get business and environment on the same task?  How can we get more volunteers and less complaining? How can we ask people to begin to think of others at least a little bit as much as they seem to think of themselves?

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