Southbridge (Mass.) YMCA Bans Parents From Kids’ Basketball Game


February 25, 2010

Parents in Southbridge, Mass., wanting to see their kids' last YMCA basketball game of the season are out of luck. Unruly parent behavior throughout the season has caused the league to ban all parents from watching Saturday's games.

Instead of just keeping out the unruly parents, the league has gone the extra mile to set an example, The Boston Globe reports.

"This is what we tried to do to let people know this is not appropriate behavior," Sue Casine, recreation director at the YMCA, told the paper. "It's just a youth league. It's a youth league for kids to play ball and have fun and learn skills and good sportsmanship, but we were having some trouble with parents in the stands."

While the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association does prohibit unruly behavior at their high school games, they stick with traditional tactics of throwing out the trouble-makers and letting everyone else enjoy the game.

The Tri-Community YMCA is going the more extreme route, one used sometimes by FIFA in soccer matches. After particularly out-of-control outbursts of hooliganism, soccer's worldwide governing body will force matches to be played in an empty stadium to avoid further problems.

The difference is, while those are often high-profile athletes in a sport tied to regional and nationalistic violence, the league in Southbridge serves kids in fifth through eighth grades. The score is erased at the end of games, and everybody gets to partake in the end-of-season celebration with soda, pizza and trophies for everybody.

"[Unruly behavior] is not going to happen in this league," Casine told the Globe. "We want to teach [the kids] the right way to have fun, the right way to play basketball, and that's how we're handling the situation."

Exiling the parents might not be the right way to do that either. At least they'll let them back in for the pizza party.

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