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Sports Parents Put Coaches, Programs in Tough Spot

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Corpus Christi Caller-Times

 

Marcel Ciascai has been attacked on Facebook for his coaching. He's had parents go to the high school administration and school board about him. He's gotten text messages from parents complaining about things he's done as a coach. He's heard the complaints from the stands during games.

The boys soccer coach is quick to point out parents who do that are in the minority. Most of his players' parents are wonderful to him and the program. But it's those few bad apples who aren't that can make life miserable for a coach.

"Those kind of parents should not do that," he said. "They should support the team how it is. Good or bad, it's ours."

Ciascai compared sports to a wedding. No matter how wonderful the wedding, Ciascai said, you'll hear someone complaining. Maybe the food wasn't up to their standards. Or they didn't like the dresses worn by the bridesmaids. Or they hated the music at the reception.

That's sports also, he said. Someone will always complain, but there are rules in place to make sure that doesn't get out of hand. Ciascai credits his school's administration for putting those rules in place.

The one that the soccer coach really likes is a 24-hour cooling off policy. After the game, win or lose, parents and coaches don't interact. They have to wait a full day before discussing what happened during the game, good or bad. Especially bad.

"When you lose, you start to point fingers," Ciascai said. "It's really easy to point the fingers, especially from the bleachers. And that 24-hour policy is going to make the coaches, the fans, the parents, and the players cool down and think straight."

That rule is a start, and certainly can help prevent confrontations on the field following a game. What it doesn't prevent, though, is what is said from the stands during a game.

Jarvis Vaughan has heard it all.

"I've heard racial slurs, I've been told I was the worst player on the court, I've heard you're a disgrace to your school, I've heard threats of being jumped after games, I've had candy and ice thrown from the stands at me," Vaughan said.

Two weeks ago, at a girls soccer game, a player went to the ground, obviously injured, in the final seconds of a tie game in regulation. The game was momentarily stopped so the player could get medical attention, and when it was a man standing at the fence that surrounded the field shouted, "She's faking it."

The referee immediately pointed at the fan and told him to be quiet or he'd be asked to leave the stadium.

Sports psychologist Dr. Patrick Cohn of Peak Performance Sports calls it a sideshow, one that can impact athletes.

"It can be embarrassing for athletes when parents are being loud on the sidelines or they're attacking the officials," Cohn said. "It's uncomfortable."

It's also a distraction for the athletes if they hear what is being said from the bleachers.

Derek McDaniel, athletic director at Waynesboro High School, said everyone in his position has dealt with unruly fans one time or another. If the situation gets bad enough where the fan is asked to leave, McDaniel said there's a district rule in place that says that fan won't be allowed to return for the next two games.

"I will say that I have had to deal more with adults than I have had to deal with my athletes," McDaniel said. "It is a never-ending process."

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Mike Tripp/The News Leader
 
April 23, 2018
 
 
 

 

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