A primer for parents, coaches as season begins

    Once again, in the spirit of starting another high school sports season, I want to reaffirm the value of sportsmanship to the parents of high school athletes.
    And this year I’ll add a note to – God and officials love ’em – coaches.
    I’m sure you are a proud parent who has watched your son or daughter grow from playground sports to become a competent athlete. And now he or she has reached the goal of being a member of a high school team.
    In many cases, those who attend schools with smaller enrollments will participate in more than one sport.
    It is important to remember that these teens are now playing at a higher level of competition, and there may well be a learning and development curve.
    I can hardly wait for the fall season to begin now that Isaac has finished dumping on us. I know you are just as excited about the prospect of watching your student-athlete perform on the field or in the gym.
    There are three simple rules I believe every parent should follow:
    ➤ Let the athletes play.
    ➤ Let the coaches coach.
    ➤ Let the officials officiate.
    Always remember that youngsters participate in sports for their enjoyment and benefit, not yours. So put a premium on the child’s efforts and performance rather than winning or losing. There is no question that half the participants in an athletic event will lose, but only as a team.
    Not every athlete can be a starting player. He or she has to earn it during daily practice by competing against teammates who work just as hard to rise in the depth chart.
    Some parents I have known over my 47 years watching young athletes perform have the delusion that their son or daughter is the next super collegian, if only given a chance by the coach.
    Coaches see these athletes perform every day in practice and judge them accordingly.
    Very few high school student-athletes will continue to compete a year after they receive their diplomas. Do your part to make sure the memories they take with them in the decades to come will be fond ones.
    You can help by remembering that kids (and teenagers) learn best by watching great role models. And who would be a better role model than you if you apply to yourself the same code of conduct as they.
    So, always encourage the athlete to play according to the rules and never make negative comments to a child for making a mistake or losing a competition. Don’t blame an individual for a team’s defeat.
    Always respect the decisions of coaches and officials and teach your athletes to do the same. Abusive language is a reflection of the abuser, not the victim of the abuse.
    Officials, like athletes, take on this part-time job because they enjoy being part of the event. In “real life” they may be law enforcement officials, businessmen, attorneys, accountants. I know those who are.
    My dear parent, just sit back and be proud of what your student-athlete has accomplished to be where he or she is. The outcome is in the hands of paid professionals who plan and work hard to win games within the LHSAA rules of competition and sportsmanship. The decisions are out of your hands.  So strive to be a supportive parent and enjoy the sports seasons as they unfold.
Conduct of coaches
    On the lighter side, the late Ron “Mr. Football” Gaspard once wrote his own “Coaches’ 10 Commandments.”
    They read:
    1. I am hired to be fired, so thou shalt never totally unpack or buy a house.
    2. I shall bend the rules, but not break them.  The players I help will blow the whistle on me.
    3. I shall never brag on my team because that will end up on an opponent’s bulletin board.
    4. I shall always remind myself that the alumni, fans, boosters and media are my enemies; coach killers!
    5. I shall never have a doghouse. Putting players in a doghouse is oftentimes the first step to the unemployment line.
    6. I shall never lie or speak with a forked tongue, but I will cry a lot and spit out a lot of meaningless, senseless, and worthless clichés.
    7. My team will always be “very young, untested, inexperienced, small and slow,” even if I have the best team.
    8. After a real bad season, I will fire a few assistant coaches and blame everyone but myself.
    9. I will run at least one double reverse, go for “it” on fourth down at least once and blitz at least one time in every game.
  10. I will own the media by feeding their bellies. The media doesn’t know an X from an O, but they do know a steak from a slice of Spam.
    Now, let’s go out there and have fun.
    Ron Brocato can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .