DEAR ABBY: My dad and I have been arguing over whether I should play soccer. I don't want to because I don't like the coach, the sport or having Dad yell at me for every little mistake I make. He says I'm good at the game and that I love it -- but I don't. How do I explain it's just not for me without disappointing him? I feel terrible because I have let him down. -- RATHER BE A CHEERLEADER
DEAR RATHER: Please don't feel that by not participating in soccer you're letting your father down. Frankly, he has let you down. When a parent becomes so emotionally involved with a child's sport activity that he yells, confuses his role as an enthusiastic and supportive parent with that of the coach, and takes the joy out of the sport for the kid, this is more often than not the result. If you enjoy cheerleading, go for it and don't feel guilty. If you have the vitality and athletic ability, you'll be a star.