Sep 29

A Child’s Letter to his Parents

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The letter is dated 1982. Yet, episodes of negative parental involvement in sport have not diminished or improved – in fact, they have increased and worsened. The drop-out rate in is currently estimated at 73% at age 12, and said to continue until age 17. The letter is a testimony to the current issues in children and youth sports.


Dear Mom and Dad,

I hope that you won’t get mad at me for writing this letter, but you always told me never to keep anything back that ought to be brought out into the open. So here it goes. Remember the other morning when my team was playing and both of you were sitting and watching. Well, I hope that you won’t get mad at me, but you kind of embarrassed me. Remember when I went after the puck in front of the net trying to score and fell? I could hear you yelling at the goalie for getting in my way and tripping me. It wasn’t his fault; that is what he is supposed to do. Then do you remember yelling at me to get to the other side of the blue line? The coach told me to cover my man, and I couldn’t if I listened to you, and while I tried to decide they scored on us. Then you yelled at me for being in the wrong place. You shouldn’t have jumped all over the coach for pulling me off the ice. He is a pretty good coach and a good guy, and he knows what he is doing. Besides he is just a volunteer coming down all hours of the day helping us kids, just because he loves sports. And, then neither of you spoke to me the whole way home; I guess you were pretty sore at me for not getting a goal. I try awfully hard, but I guess I am a crummy hockey player. But, I love the game, its lots of fun being with other kids and learning to compete. It is a good sport, but how can I learn if you don’t show me a good example. And, anyhow I thought I was playing hockey for fun, to have a good time, and to learn sportsmanship. I didn’t know that you were going to get so upset because I couldn’t become a star.

Your Son


Source: Your Child in Hockey, Ontario Hockey Council (1982), Toronto, ON: Canada, cited in McPherson, Curtis, and Loy (1989), p. 87.

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