Did you see the story about the youth football game that turned violent? The coaching staff of one team was unhappy with the referee’s call. A coach pushed the ref then one of the players ran over and tackled him. A melee ensued. It was a repulsive scene!

Jess did play youth football one season. I liked his coach because he was all about making it fun for the kids and teaching them the basic skills. However, on game days, some of the other teams were intense. It was all about winning.

How do we cross the line, from parents and youth mentors (like the melee’ coaches,) into a rabid, mindless mob? Are we feeding our kids too much violence through TV and movies? Are some of us (like the coaches and some of the parents I work with) modeling violence to our children: yelling, throwing things, showing a low frustration tolerance for disappointment?

If my son was on the team that started the brawl, I would have immediately plucked him off the field and gone home, never to play football on that team again. If he was on the other team, I probably would have allowed him to remain and hear what the coaches had to say, but at the end of the day, I may have removed him from the league. If the coaches had a substantive talk with them and made a big deal about how to handle conflict and violence, I may have let him continue his football career.

For the guys standing on the sideline, this is a big lesson in life. Do we join the crowd, or do we follow our conscience?