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Parents' pressure to win can ruin sports

Dear Abby: We recently attended our niece's sixth-grade basketball game at the YMCA. The game was supposed to be noncompetitive and fun - however, it was anything but that. The parents of the opposing team were yelling at our niece, screaming and cheering every time she missed a basket. At least three children broke down in tears during the game.

To counter a written complaint the coach made, the wives of the other team's coaches made up lies and reported them to the director. (All the lies were subsequently refuted by the referees, kids on both teams and some parents.)Abby, I can't believe that so much pressure could be put on young people. Girls are especially vulnerable at 11 or 12. While it's part of the game to get excited about winning, I wish more parents would consider the kids' emotions. What do you think?

- Concerned Mom in Indiana

Dear Concerned Mom: For parents to humiliate children on the opposing team in an attempt to give their own children a psychological advantage is shameful. The parents should consider what they are teaching their children by their example.

Aside from the obvious health benefits that sports offer children of both sexes, the children are supposed to be learning teamwork and good sportsmanship.

Dear Abby: I love reading your column. A couple of years ago, I read a piece on forgiveness and realized that, like many other people, I don't know how to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Your column helped. Would you please run it again?

- Mrs. G.S.K.P., Lake Worth, Fla.

Dear Mrs. G.S.K.P.: Pleased to oblige. Since this is International Forgiveness Week, your letter is timely. The poem you requested was written by George Roemisch.


Forgiveness is the wind-blown bud

which blooms in placid beauty at Verdun.

Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow

which has built its nest of twigs and string

among the shards of glass upon the wall of shame.

Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy

beneath the toothed fence that closes in Da Nang.

Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet

which still clings fast to the heel that crushed it.

Forgiveness is the broken dream

which hides itself within the corner of the mind

oft called forgetfulness so that it will not bring

pain to the dreamer.

Forgiveness is the reed

which stands up straight and green

when nature's mighty rampage halts, full spent.

Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us

after all we've done.

So, dear readers, a gentle reminder: If perchance you are the "heel" that crushed a violet - this is the week to seek forgiveness.

Good advice for everyone - teens to seniors - is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

1997 Universal Press Syndicate


On Line

All of the Dear Abby columns for the past several years are available online. Search for "DEAR ABBY" in the Lifestyle section and the Deseret News archives.