Unit 3: Real World Connection

Learn More

Playing by the Rules?

kids sports statistics: This graph shows the number of U.S. kids who play certain sports. Combined, how many kids play those sports?

Last month in New Jersey, two soccer teams were locked in a tied game. The game finally ended in a dramatic finish.

The game did not end with a tie-breaking shoot-out, however. It ended because of a fight between parents and coaches.

The fight started because one coach wanted the other coach to move from behind the goal during a shoot-out kick. Soon the coaches were yelling at each other. Then parents ran onto the field, and some of the adults threw punches.

No one was hurt and no children were involved in the fight. But many towns across the United States are wondering what can be done to stop these kinds of ugly scenes from happening.

An Increase in Fights

Many of the fights at children's sporting events start because of decisions made by referees. “There are going to be bad calls, and refs have been called names. But that's part of the game,” Barry Mano told Weekly Reader. Mano is the president of the National Association of Sports Officials.

In children' sporting events today, bad calls can result in a lot worse than name-calling, Mano said. “We are seeing between 50 and 100 attacks a year on referees.”

Mano recently told Weekly Reader that fighting at children' sporting events is a national problem. “We need to have long-term education to teach people how to behave at sporting events and solve the problem,” Mano said.

Mano said that parents must keep in mind that they are important role models for children. He also said the quality of referees at children' sporting events needs to be improved.

A Great Place to Learn

“Sports are a great place for children to learn. We just have to make sure that children can have fun while playing,” said Fred Engh. Engh is president of the National Alliance for Youth Sports. The group promotes good sporting behavior among children, parents, and coaches involved with youth sports.

Engh told Weekly Reader that there is one important thing children can do to help prevent bad scenes at sporting events. “Children can remind their parents that this is just a game and that it's a time to have fun,” Engh said.

Word Wise

A means of settling a tie in a soccer game by having teams take turns kicking the ball at the net.

A person in a position of authority, such as a referee.

Involving a long period of time.

role model:
A person whose behavior serves an example to someone else.

Back to Article


Word Wise Quiz
Choose the best word to complete each sentence in the Word Wise Quiz.

Data Hunt

Playing by the Rules? Quiz
How much did you learn from “Playing by the Rules?” Take the Playing by the Rules? Quiz to find out.