LEBANON, Ind. (WISH) — Lebanon Little League is fed up with bad fans, and program leaders are promising to ban coaches, spectators and parents for rude behavior.
A message from the Lebanon Little League president said, “We’ve been getting several complaints that coaches, parents, and spectators are being very rude to our umpires.”
Brian Barlow, collegiate soccer referee and founder of the Facebook page Offside, said he applauds the organization for making this move. Offside is a page that features stories from across the country that show bad behavior at youth sporting events.
“There has to be a level of accountability, there has to be. You are going to lose the privilege, it is a privilege, it is a privilege, to get to watch your kid play youth sports in America and if you lose your right because you can’t behave responsibly and appropriately, then yeah I think the punishment should be severe,” said Barlow.
His Facebook page has become an outlet for these kinds of issues. He said most times the worst part about youth sports is the adults. That behavior, he said, is the reason for fewer referees.
“Of course, corona(virus) didn’t help the situation, but it was already trending downward severely. The number one culprit, the way parents and coaches behave at youth sporting events,” said Barlow.
Lebanon Little League hopes to put a stop to the situation. President Brian Tandy shared a lengthy message on the organization’s Facebook page:
“Coaches, Parents, & Spectators, First off, I hate that I have to write this. We’ve been getting several complaints that coaches, parents, and spectators are being very rude to our umpires. I am sick of hearing about it. If you can’t respect our umpires, please stay home. As you might know, there is an umpire shortage across the state and country. They volunteer their time and do the best they can. You might not like their call, but they are trained to handle these situations. We also need umpires, if you are trained in the game and are willing to volunteer, please e-mail me.Several of our umpires are in our junior umpire training program. They genuinely enjoy being out there to ensure your own kids have a good experience. Please refrain from yelling at and threatening the kids. They have the power to eject you from the facility and have been told to stop the game and get a board member if they need assistance for fan conduct. From today forward, if you are caught yelling at, threatening, or heckling in any manner to an umpire, coach, or board member, you will be banned for 1 year from Lebanon Little League. If you feel like this might be an issue for you, please e-mail me your concerns. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. Brian Tandy President, Lebanon Little Leaguepresident@lebanonll.org”President Brian Tandy
Barlow hopes for the kids, parents step up to the plate. But he’s glad to know if they don’t, the league has no problem playing hardball.
“You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit and guess what throwing a fit got you? It’s going to get you banned from Lebanon Little League and I love it. More of that is needed in youth sports,” said Barlow.