The Buffalo Grove Park District last week began posting signs near athletic fields as part of an effort to curb inappropriate adult behavior during youth sports games.
"I didn't realize how prevalent this problem was until my son played soccer, and then I eventually became a volunteer coach," Buffalo Grove Park District marketing manager Mike Terson said in a news release. "After having conversations with other parents, I learned that many people shared my concern that we, the adults, are creating a less than desirable environment during youth sports games."
The signs follow in the footsteps of ones that were put up last September at Hoffman Estates Park District ice rinks that drew a lot of attention. The installation of those signs coincided with that park district's approval last year of a new anti-bullying policy and sportsmanship pledge.
Ryan Risinger, Buffalo Grove director of recreation and facilities, said most parents are excellent fans. "They understand that it is just a game being played by children who just want to have fun," he said in the news release.
"The sign's intention is to be a bit of a self-check for the adults, something to make parents stop and think," he said. "Sometimes, we, the adults, need to be reminded as to what truly is important, and that it is just a game."
Terson said that rather than list a set of rules that might get ignored, officials tried to infuse a little humor so that the message would resonate and people might be more likely to comply.
The park district signs also address the issue of arguing calls and abusing officials.
"Players make errors and so do officials. No official ever intentionally makes a bad call; therefore, it is never appropriate to yell at an official because one doesn't like the call he or she made," said Executive Director Dan Schimmel.