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NCSU Professor Hopes To Turn Parents Into Good Sports

Posted July 17, 2001

— Sports is supposed to be a fun and positive experience for kids. Increasingly, it is adults who are showing unsportsmanlike conduct on the field.

Parents and coaches often lose control, and they are not just fighting over bad calls and plays. Last year, a father in Boston was killed after his son's hockey practice.

A North Carolina State University professor is developing a program aimed at preventing the violent behavior known as "Parent Rage."

HBO Sports recently profiled two Miami coaches who fought over an umpire's call at a T-ball game involving 4- and 5-year-olds. The parents quickly joined in and had a fistfight.

HBO also interviewed a soccer referee in Florida who was attacked after calling a foul at a game. A camera stationed outside the clubhouse caught the altercation on tape.

"What we're trying to do is put together an educational campaign that gives [adults] the tools that they need to create the best environment for their kids," says professor Michael Kanters.

Kanters plans to launch the educational program through local parks and recreation departments and through the media.

He say similar programs on a smaller scale are already working. Parents in Jupiter, Fla. received information and signed a pledge to be good sports.

Those parents acted a lot different than adults on the other side of the field during a Pee Wee football game.

N.C. State will start pilot testing the program in 10 public parks and recreation departments this fall. Eight of those parks in are in North Carolina, including Raleigh and Fayetteville.

Most of the funding for the program comes from the National Football League and the National Recreation and Parks Association.


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