Plenty of research shows how great it is for girls to participate in athletics. They avoid drugs and alcohol, have higher self-esteem, lower rates of teen pregnancy, and are less prone to obesity. Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the Wharton School, has studied how female athletes tend to succeed in life in general. "It's not just that the people who are going to do well in life play sports, but that sports help people do better in life," she told the New York Times in 2010.
There is always an exception to the rule, and I suspect that the daughter of Indiana man Shelley Miller won't be reaping all the benefits of participating on her elementary school's basketball team. According to nwi.com, Miller showed up at basketball practice, punched assistant coach Jeffrey Yackus in the face and then proceeded to pummel him until he was unconscious. The reason? Yackus had made the girl run laps around the court because she had been fighting with another player.
Examples of parents losing it over kids' sports are shamefully easy to find. Only last week, charges were filed against a Massachusetts man for aiming a laser into the opposing goalkeeper's eyes during his daughter's hockey game. Anyone who has been to even a handful of youth sporting events has seen parents screaming on the sidelines, often to their kid's complete mortification. Worse, there are many reported incidents of parents physically attacking referees, coaches, and each other.
Sideline rage has the effect of beating the joy out of sports for kids. It becomes about their parent, their parent's expectations, and their parent's ugliness, instead of the game. Some children of hyper-aggressive parents even develop a type of post-traumatic stress disorder.
As for dad Miller, he's facing felony battery charges for his unsportsmanlike conduct.
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