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Sportsmanship for Parents

Teach your children sportsmanship by setting an example.

Nashville, Ark. – You have probably seen them. Parents, grandparents, and other adults who are more into their child’s ballgame that the child is. They bite nails, shout at the umpires, coaches, or other team players. We may even BE them from time to time. But even if we are that spectator, we can all agree that we are annoyed by people who live and die by their child’s performance in sports. Support is one thing, but stress inducing pressure and negative behavior is something else.

Ballgames can be stressful for parents and grandparents. We all want our child to do well. When the stakes feel high, the stress goes even higher. Showing support for your child is a big thing! Children love to play the game, and they love having people watch them. However, when the people they love behave badly, it can add more stress to the situation through embarrassment, anxiety, disappointment, and added pressure. It also sets a poor example for the kids you came to cheer for.

How can you show sportsmanship and be an example?

            Here are few tips for easing the stress and setting a positive example for your young athlete.

  • Remember why you are there. You came to watch your child play. Ask yourself, “Why did you sign your child up for the sport?” It may have been to give them an opportunity to learn the game or to provide them an opportunity for physical activity, teamwork, and social skills. We all want our child to do well. When we yell at them, belittle other children or parents, or shout at the officials, it will not make them play better and can, in fact, make them play worse. It puts added pressure on the player which isn’t helpful.
  • Remember who is watching. At whatever event you attend, there are other people around you who are there to enjoy the game too. Saying negative things (even under your breath), shouting, pacing, cursing, questioning the officials, and other disruptive behaviors not only takes away from the experience of those watching the game, but it can also set a poor example for the young people in the crowd or on the field. It also reflects poorly on you with other parents and adults, those who may or may not really know you.
  • Remember that words can hurt. No matter how frustrated you are with a coaching decision, play execution, or other parent’s comment, unkind or inappropriate words can’t be taken back. If you feel so frustrated that you can’t help yourself, its best to step away, go to the restroom or snack bar for a few minutes to breathe through it and allow your frustration to return to normal. If you really need to address something with a coach, official, or other parent, talk to them one-on-one at an appropriate time and when you are calm.
  • Remember to be a gracious winner - not a sore loser. If your team wins, don’t rub it in to the opposing team. If your team loses, don’t make excuses or blame others. Your child learns by watching how you respond to things. Show respect for your child, your child’s team, and the opposing team by congratulating the winners and genuinely comforting the losing team.
  • Remember that it’s just a game. Unless you are watching a professional sporting event, keep in mind that these are amateur athletes learning to play the game. The example you set for your athlete and his/her teammates is far more important than the outcome of the game. It may feel super important at the time, but a game is still a game. Disappointment can be recovered from but teaching your child aggressive or other disruptive sideline behaviors can lead to similar behaviors in adulthood.

Additional information may be found at:

For more information on parenting or personal relationships, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or check out the website for lots of information on every day challenges. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe

Looking for a strawberry dessert for spring celebrations? This one will be perfect for any occasion. It requires a little time, but the results are delicious!

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter


  • 2 ½ pounds cream cheese, softened (5-8 oz. packages)
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ grated teaspoons orange rind
  • 1 ½ grated teaspoons lemon rind
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Strawberry Glaze:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

*Note use 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries in place of frozen strawberries.

For crust:

  1. Combine ingredients.
  2. Press onto bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes in a 350 degrees pre-heated oven.

For Filling:

  1. Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and flour until fluffy.
  2. Add grated orange and lemon rind and vanilla.
  3. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly between additions.
  4. Pour into pan lined with graham cracker crumb.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
  6. Reduce heat to 200 degrees and bake for 1 hour.
  7. Turn off heat, open door, and cool cake in oven.
  8. Serve with strawberry glaze.
  9. Store covered in refrigerator.

For Strawberry Glaze

  1. Mix the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.
  2. Add strawberries and lemon juice.
  3. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until glaze is clear and thick.


By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.