OVERBEARING parents and spectators be warned - inappropriate and hostile behaviour at junior sport is not acceptable.
To encourage a fun and pressure-free environment at children’s sport several associations around Orange have begun putting up signs designed at reminding parents of their responsibilities as spectators, and role models.
Signs have previously been displayed around town at sports like netball, basketball, rugby league and rugby union and convey several identical messages - winning is not as important as enjoyment, it is not a professional level, the officials are human and spectators should behave as such.
Geoff Potts, manager of Orange PCYC and president of Orange Emus Junior Rugby Club, said he has not experienced unruly behaviour from spectators at his facility, but is fully aware it occurs having watched his son come through Orange’s junior ranks in rugby league, rugby union and cricket.
“You always here the stories about parents giving referees or officials a serve, even though I haven’t seen it [at the PCYC],” Mr Potts said.
“Being involved in the junior rugby, it’s hard to get referees and it doesn’t help if parents and spectators are giving them a serve.
“I’ve seen a lot of referees leave rugby, and stop doing the job because they’ve copped a pisling from spectators, even coaches sometimes. Most of the time officials are volunteers, they don’t get paid, so they need to be respected.”
The Orange PCYC has several signs displayed, at the prerogative of the sporting clubs and associations that use the facility, and Mr Potts applauded those that have.
“We definitely support the messages,” Mr Potts said.
“And we have several clubs putting these signs up, which is great. Most sports take care of their own referees and umpires when they play here, but we reiterate the message when we do it ourselves.
“The biggest thing is that bad behaviour takes the fun out of it, and if you take the fun element away kids will just stop playing.”
Poll: Do you think Orange parents are too over bearing during junior sport games?