From Dawson's Desk : Reflects on the Pride and Passion behind Youth Sports Administration
Just over a month ago, an interesting storm rolled into the Twin Cities and really opened my eyes.
We were facilitating the Gopher State Tournament of Champions that was being played in seven communities, and the storm impacted each playing site differently. In Chanhassen and Shakopee, for instance, there were rain delays, but the games were completed Saturday night and the Sunday schedule remained as originally planned. In other communities, there was rain and lightning, and games had to be postponed until Sunday morning.
At one location, though, the host group was already pressed due to limited fields (including ones with lights), and another group in the community had booked access for a large part of Sunday. Most people were understanding and sympathetic to the issues and challenges, but one set of parents unleashed complaints and unwarranted charges against organizers.
Before I continue the story, I want to give credit to people who are organizing youth sports as a whole. I know there are some who may not take as much pride in their efforts and see it as just a moneymaker. But most people who are administering youth sports events — especially the state tournament events — have a lot of pride and passion and conduct themselves professionally. It's not some crackpot operation, where they're just flying by the seat of their pants and making flippant decisions.
At MYAS, we always look at the kids' best interests first because that's what we're about, and we want to make it a great experience that's safe, positive, and productive for them. But the MYAS does not own any facilities. We have partnerships with associations and booster clubs, so we don't have the luxury of booking fields in whatever community that we want, and we can’t just acquire them out of the blue.
And baseball is harder to administer than basketball, for instance, because of field maintenance, access to full-sized fields and, of course, the weather.
So back to the group of parents who were angry because their team was among those that were not going to advance to the next round due to the weather, field availability, and needing to reduce the number of games that could be played.
That playing site’s host group eventually was able to find an additional field that could accommodate a last-minute switch and allow for advancement of more teams into the championship bracket.
I'm pleased that we were able to provide this opportunity for the kids, but I don't relish the fact that those upset parents probably feel that happened because they made enough noise to force an adjustment. I can assure you, that wasn't the reason.
But it's yet another reminder that we should try and think the best of people and not expect the worst. That most are trying to do what's best for the young athletes and are not “out to get them" and their parents or their clubs.
I know our team at the MYAS. We are a professional organization, and my teammates are committed and dedicated to administering youth sports and providing growth opportunities for young athletes on and off the courts and fields.
Most of us working in youth sports want things to work out for everyone involved, and we would all do well to extend one another a little more grace.