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Parents: Keep your cool!

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Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

It's that time of year again.

Time for boys of all ages in the Mon Valley to take to the gridiron.

And time for the girls throughout the area to don their little cheerleading skirts, grab their pom-poms and cheer their boys on to victory.

Oh yeah, it's also the time for some parents to absolutely lose their minds in the stands and act like idiots.

First off, let's start off by saying that this is not about all parents. Most of the time, parents, while passionate when watching their children play, know the boundaries of their fandom and don't cross those lines.

This is for those who don't.

Some people need to realize that the games are for the kids. It's not for you to live vicariously through them.

In most cases, some of these parents were never the superstar player or captain of the cheer squad. That doesn't mean that your son or daughter is going to be.

Even more so parents, if you were the cheerleader with the most spirit or All-American quarterback, that definitely doesn't mean that your child is going to follow in your footsteps. And if they don't, that's OK. Let them be their own person and athlete. There's no need to grill them while they're on the sidelines and it definitely does not give you the right to grill someone else's kid from the bleachers.

I've coached sports. I still coach basketball for the Special Olympics. My sister was a cheerleader for Belle Vernon Area and still coaches cheerleading to young girls. My brother Justin was an athlete at BVA, and another brother Roger is a Special Olympics athlete. I couldn't be more proud of them for their accomplishments.

This problem is everywhere and I've seen it first hand.

So, if your little girl isn't in the front row of the cheerleading line, get over it. Is there really a need to walk on to the field and harass another cheerleader and confront the coaches? Oh yes, I've seen it first hand ... at a practice.

To quote former NBA star Allen Iverson, “We're talking about practice!”

Parents cry favortism and nepotism everytime a coach's son or daughter gets more playing time or a better position. It's to be expected, but did it ever occur to some that maybe the child in question has simply benefitted from having a coach as a parent. More time to work on things and practice and having the ability to ask questions to a parent that is a coach ultimately makes them better players.

I know that there are those rare instances that sometimes a coach that is a parent of a player simply puts their kids in a better position to succeed, but I don't think it's as common as many think. And if it is, there are proper channels to go through to either lodge a complaint or ask questions. You don't march on to the field spitting fire at a 9- or 10-year-old and then a coach.

It's important to remember that these people in the local midget football leagues, community baseball leagues and intramural basketball leagues are all volunteering their time. They're doing it because if they didn't, who knows if anyone else would? So try to take it easy on them. If you want to have that much control, why don't you go volunteer YOUR time?

Youth sports are for the kids, not for their parents to try to relive their own glory days.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at (724) 684-2667 or

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