Play, Parents and Paradox

AS0000154F06 Primary school children, sports dayI received an invitation to talk this afternoon with Sonya Feldhoff on the Afternoons program on 891 ABC Adelaide.
The topic of conversation was the intensity of sporting parents following on, in part, from news of the arrest of John Tomic.
One of my overwhelming concerns is that we have transformed children’s play into dis-play. So I was delighted to talk about this topic.
I think it is very appropriate that a South Australian radio program discussed this.
Back in 2001, the Play by the Rules website was launched by the South Australian Department for Sport and Recreation as an interactive education and information website on discrimination, harassment and child protection in sport. This has grown into a nationwide network of agencies that provides “information, resources, tools and free online training to increase the capacity and capability of administrators, coaches, officials, players and spectators to assist them in preventing and dealing with discrimination, harassment and child safety issues in sport”.
FA09In March this year, Sam Elliott and Murray Drummond, from Flinders Unversity, published some findings from their research into parental involvement in junior Australian Rules football. There is some information about their findings in this article too.
Whilst thinking about what to say I found Gerry Jackson’s Silence would be golden at sports events an excellent prompt. I found Jens Omli and Nicole LaVoi’s (2011) paper very helpful too as I considered the paradox of parental involvement and parental anger.
I did not have an opportunity to mention the role of Ground Marshals in local sport. I see their role as increasingly important and hopefully a way to bring about transformation of long-term behaviour at sport events. The biggest step of all for me is for all parents and children to have their own ethical standards that make junior sport a vibrant, exciting place to be.

Photo Credits

Primary school children, sports day (Anthea Sieveking, CC BY 2.0 )
Indoor track, St George’s (Keith Lyons, CC BY 3.0)


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