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Teaching your Athletes the Fun and Safe Way to Have a Sports Rivalry

By Janis Meredith, USA Football, 06/17/19, 2:15PM CDT

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Parents, remind your children that these are games. And remind yourselves that the lessons learned from them are what our sons and daughters carry with them into adulthood.

Sports and rivalries go hand-in-hand. The contests and the histories between teams can unite communities and inspire athletes to do their best.

But sometimes fans lose perspective and that’s when rivalries can go bad. They become marred by vandalism, insults, threats, and violence.

Since it’s a sports parent and coach’s job to encourage healthy competition in young athletes, it is imperative that we help our kids understand there is a right way and a wrong way, a safe way and a dangerous way, a fun way and an ugly way, to handle sports rivalries.

SAY NO TO VANDALISM

A few years ago, a high school basketball game in our community ended in ugliness when a school bus full of high school athletes was shot at by a paintball gun twice as it traveled home from the game. Luckily, the bus kept driving safely and no one was hurt.

There is simply no place for vandalism like this in youth sports. What starts out as “innocent fun” can quickly escalate into bodily or property injury. Administrators and Coaches need to stomp out this behavior by appropriately disciplining those involved.