For the Love of the Game -- Part II: Lost love and the parents' role

This is the second part of a series of columns written by former Bishop Gibbons boys basketball coach Herb Crossman.

Today, the reasons for playing a sport are all together different than reasons of the old school generation. It seems to be more for the love of money and for one's own self. It's about me, not my team.

The Prima Dona Complex is not novel, but it's more "played out" today than ever before. We may wonder what's gone wrong with sport when all of these potential superstars start to dictate to their coaches and parents. One doesn't have to look too far to see where it began to go wrong. My years of coaching have shown me that it usually starts at home.

Yes, parents, believe or not, you share some of the responsibility. For instance, we may have that one son or daughter (That's right daughter - it's no longer just the sons) that shows potential in a particular sport. We think they will be next "phenom" in that sport.

Those thoughts are escalated when others, such as friends, family members, high school and AAU coaches start telling us that our child is destined for greatness. Usually, that person either isn't in touch with reality, or he or she has an ulterior motive.

Given all the feedback from these so-called experts, we parents begin the cycle of treating the "phenom" in ways they normally wouldn't. We cater to her or him in so many different ways. We begin, at times unaware of our actions, to brag about our kids to anybody we feel may be interested.

After I retired, I attended games and tried to sit away from parents whenever possible. Needless to say, it is almost impossible in these overcrowded gyms.

While in the stands, I heard some of the most outrageous comments coming from people. I heard parents talking about other people's children in such shameful ways, it embarrassed me, and I don't even have a child playing. They criticized looks, dress and to get an edge up for their own kid, they put down another kid's academic ability.

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