VIC COLUMN: “Sports Dad” presents observations
Back in my days, I have to admit it, I was a sports parent.
My three played sports - baseball, basketball, volleyball and swimming. I was a sandlot football and baseball player, and rec league basketball player in my days growing up on the Isle of Palms. Never good enough to go farther, much to the chagrin of my father, a want-to-be coach and, while in college at UNC, an acquaintance of Charlie “Choo-Choo” Justice.
So, it was with interest that I came across the info the other day off the google-net:
There are many reasons to celebrate moms and dads oNational Parents Day (July 28), not the least of which is their selfless commitment to contributing so much of their precious time and hard earned money to their children's activities. And let's face it, parents of kids involved in sports have A LOT on their plate. Driving to games and practices, washing seemingly endless amounts of dirty laundry, planning for the entire season calendar (sometimes for multiple kids of different ages across multiple sports), packing snacks and meal prepping. The list goes on.
Not surprisingly, as children participate in more and more organized team sports, both the time and the financial commitment that are needed from mom and dad have skyrocketed.
While both parents typically make an enormous commitment to seeing their child succeed on the field or in the gym, there are some interesting differences between how moms and dads are involved in their children's athletic pursuits. Flip-Give — the team funding platform that has helped over 35,000 youth sports teams and clubs across North America raise $20 million— surveyed 1,000 American sports parents and learned some interesting insights:
>> A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: MOMS & DADS STRESS OVER DIFFERENT THINGS
For mothers of young athletes, the time commitment associated with their child’s sports involvement is the number one cause of stress (40%), and the financial cost comes in at a close second (38%).For dads, the financial strain caused by sports costs is the biggest stressor (62%), and the time commitment was second (13%).
>> DADS ARE MORE LIKELY TO PLAY HARDBALL
51% of sports dads admit that they have gotten into a heated argument with a referee, coach, or other parent at one of their child’s sports events, while only 7% of sports moms say they have.
>> THE ‘TEAM MOM’ AND ‘COACH DAD’ ARE MORE THAN JUST A CLICHE
Regardless of whether youth sports teams are in a male, female or co-ed league, fewer than 12% of U.S. sports parents said their child’s coach is a mother. On the flip side, 81% said their child’s coach is a father (and 7% said the coach was a non-parent).
>> VICTORY LAP: MOMS & DADS HAVE DIFFERENT GOALS FOR TEAM PLAY
It turns out sports moms and dads have very different goals for their youngster’s athletic involvement. For moms, the top goal for their child is to have fun (38%). For sports dads, the top priority for their child is to learn teamwork and leadership skills (34%). Both sports moms and dads said the second most important thing was the physical and mental health benefits.
>> RIDING TO PRACTICE IN STYLE
Last but not least, a relatively equal amount of sports moms (59%) and dads (58%) said they drive the classic sports parent minivan.
>> THE MOST ON-THE-BALL SPORTS PARENTS
Some sports parents are more involved than others. 23% of American sports parents say they’re the team’s #1 biggest fan— meaning they never miss a game or practice, cheer the loudest from the sidelines, and are always equipped with snacks and first aid essentials.
The top 5 states where sports parents are most involved are:
1. Florida (72%)
2. Pennsylvania (69%)
3. Alabama (68%)
4. South Carolina (66%)
5. Texas (65%)
And “The Pitch”: To learn more about how parents are helping their kids succeed on the field of play or behaving in the bleachers, please contact me so that I can put you in touch with FlipGive CEO and Co-Founder Mark Bachman, who also happens to be a sports parent himself.
My own sports-parent career was very checkered. I yelled at son Patrick one time in the dugout, he got picked off first; and I yelled at a ref once at daughter Mem’s basketball games, hey it was on the road and I was under a lot of stress. Other than that, there are many fond memories from “the sports-minivan days”.
And, really, isn’t that - life-lessons, fond memories and relationships - what athletics should be all about?
(Vic MacDonald is editor of The Clinton Chronicle. The views expressed here are his and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle. MacDonald can be reached at 833-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org)