Parents need to let their children play

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By Matt Birkholtz

I never realized how intense parents of student athletes are not only here, but in all of Northern Kentucky.
I have noticed some behavior that is unacceptable.
I didn’t really realize the negativity coming from the stands until near the end of the soccer and football seasons. It also carried over into basketball season.
When covering the 23rd District boys’ soccer tournament last fall,  I witnessed the negative attitude towards both Pendleton County players and Grant County players, before erupting into a small brawl between the players on the field. At one point even some fans were removed from their seats and kicked out of the game.
After arriving at the 32nd District tournament on Feb. 21 and 22, I witnessed some intense moments as well. I went to sit in the bleachers during halftime of the Lady Braves/Lady Pioneers game, when I noticed a Grant County parent crying. I wondered what was going on.
As an Independence police officer walked over to the section, the officer misinterpreted the situation because he thought the Grant County parent was causing the issue.
I didn’t find out until after the game what had happened. I heard the parent discussing with other Grant County parents that she was called a derogatory name by a Simon Kenton parent.
I was disgusted by the name-calling and I began to think about writing this column. At the next day’s games another incident influenced my decision to write this column.
It was after the Grant County Braves/Walton-Verona basketball game in which the Braves lost 60-48 to end their season that I noticed some sparks were flying near the Grant County locker room.
As I walked over I observed coach Jim Hicks being held back by his assistants, as he was yelling at someone in the crowd. Bystanders said a parent gave Hicks an obscene gesture after the game and accused Hicks of calling the players and their son names.
The point is that parents trying to live vicariously through their children, which to me is just wrong.
These are poor examples of being a parent. At the end of the day, a game is only a game.
Parents just need to take a step back and let their children enjoy the sport(s) they play and teach them to treat each other with respect, because bad behavior shouldn’t be tolerated.
(Matt Birkholtz is the sports writer for the Grant County News. He can be reached at mbirkholtz@grantky.com.)