DEAR ABBY: We recently attended our niece's sixth-grade basketball game at the YMCA. The game was supposed to be noncompetitive and fun -- however, it was anything but that. The parents of the opposing team were yelling at our niece, screaming and cheering every time she missed a basket. At least three children broke down in tears during the game.
To counter a written complaint the coach made, the wives of the other team's coaches made up lies and reported them to the director. (All the lies were subsequently refuted by the referees, kids on both teams and some parents.)
Abby, I can't believe that so much pressure could be put on young people. Girls are especially vulnerable at 11 or 12. While it's part of the game to get excited about winning, I wish more parents would consider the kids' emotions. What do you think? -- CONCERNED MOM IN INDIANA
DEAR CONCERNED MOM: For parents to humiliate children on the opposing team in an attempt to give their own children a psychological advantage is shameful. The parents should consider what they are teaching their children by their example.
Aside from the obvious health benefits that sports offer children of both sexes, the children are supposed to be learning teamwork and good sportsmanship.