LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Shocking video of parents brawling at a youth baseball game in Lakewood captured nationwide attention. It also sparked a bigger conversation about parents and sportsmanship.
A number of youth sports leagues in Colorado require player parents to sign a sportsmanship contract, agreeing to certain conduct. In Denver, Mark Strawbridge the Director of Catholic Schools Sports League is going a step further.
“It’s about the kids,” he said.
Strawbridge runs a training program for coaches and parents with much of the focus put on their behavior.
“Play Like A Champion today is a sportsmanship program that is two-fold… both for coaches and parents to help those parents that are involved in youth sports understand their role in youth sports,” he said.
He says while situations like the one in Lakewood are rare, the feelings surrounding youth sports are changing and the pressures mounting.
The goal of the training is to bring things back into perspective.
“Number one: to remember it’s their child’s experience. The more involved we get the more we make it about ourselves,” Strawbridge said.
He has been spreading that message for seven years and is now being recognized for his dedication and his success with a national award.
While humbling, he says the biggest honor is giving the game back to the kids.
“It’s a phrase that’s said a lot. We are all here for the kids, but let’s do it through our actions and not just our words,” he said.