If you thought former Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager, the Harvard trained Paul DiPodesta, was a geek, look no farther than to your local kids sports leagues and you’ll find people we used to call, “The Paste Eaters,” running nearly every one.
“How does this happen?” you might wonder.
Every team in kid sports is buttressed by an infrastructure of parents, volunteers mainly, who oversee the activities, everything from coaching to arranging carpools and parties.
Some of these people become administrators of leagues, especially if they have kids with a wide span of ages.
And a few, long after their kids have moved on to high school and college, stick around because they like the authority, the politics, and the ambiance of amateur athletics.
I believe it is a mistake to allow people to serve beyond the time that their kids are playing.
When your child is in the league, you have to get along with nearly everybody, which is difficult. But you’re forced to do this because any animosity toward you can easily be transferred to your child.
He or she may be overlooked when it’s time to select all-star teams, for example. This can be devastating, emotionally, especially if your offspring consider themselves, and are widely regarded as all-star material.
This pressure, for parents to relate to each other on a friendly basis, and to at least be civil toward each other, is actually very positive, and without it, we’d experience more of the horrors that have been widely reported, where fights, injuries, and even deaths result.
Long-term administrators without kids on the rosters are “above the law,” so to speak.
Too often, they believe they ARE the league, and that they have the right to impose draconian decisions with near impunity.
I’ve coached in leagues where certain senior officials have been serving for thirty years, and longer, and let me tell you, you can’t tell them anything! Often, they’re cranky despots that should have shipped themselves off to Leisure World years ago, instead of presiding over those that could be their grandkids.
Don’t get me wrong. Service to the community is great.
But if these folks like intrigue and power, let them run for public office. At least that way, they’ll be accountable, and subject to being recalled.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books, over 600 articles, and the creator of numerous audio and video training programs, including “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable,” published by Nightingale-Conant-a favorite among salespeople and entrepreneurs. For information about booking Gary to speak at your next sales, customer service or management meeting, conference or convention, please address your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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