Participating in sports is an important part of a child's social and physical development, which should be strongly encouraged. It teaches them skills, confidence, and cooperation.  Many times it helps build lifelong friendships.

Participation should also teach sportsmanship, but only if that same sportsmanship is exhibited off the field by parents and spectators. This was not the case at a recent soccer match as the season ended with a round robin tournament.

At least one parent stomped the sidelines openly cursing at the referee by taking the Lord's name in vain. All of this in front of the children on the field and the sidelines. It was shameful.

Also shameful was the reaction of the other parents, including me. Our society has become so concerned about offending someone that we don't speak up when they are offending us or our rights as parents. We are letting ourselves be bullied by their obnoxious behavior. Responsible parents need to stand together and say enough is enough.

We are at ballfields, not late night dive bars. Let's stand together and tell those who ruin the experience to kindly be quiet and control their foul mouths around our kids.

Dale Dalbey

Santa Rosa Beach