Sometimes Parents Just Don’t Understand

A front page article in the 5/24 Maine Sunday Telegram reflects a troubling sign of the times. The title gives the overview: “Maine schools: Coaches getting harder to find.” The subtitle tells the story: “With low pay, long hours and more meddling by parents, fewer teachers are applying for the jobs, so schools are looking elsewhere.”

The low pay and long hours have always been true. What’s new is the fact that the helicopter parent is hovering so closely and so loudly that it makes it harder to swallow the pay and hours.

The article quotes some of Maine’s most respected coaches. And it isn’t pretty:

“I think, right now, the difference between the past and now is that parents feel they have more of a say and they want to get more involved with the coaches. I think that’s why, today, coaching is more difficult.” – Ron Cote, has coached 4 sports at Biddeford HS.

“It’s a pain in the butt. The kids are great. The parents are terrible everywhere.” – Mike Carrier, Bucksport HS softball coach for 31 years.

“Very often it is more and more difficult (to get qualified applicants). That doesn’t mean that there aren’t qualified people coming in. But I think maybe a bigger problem is that coaches are having to deal with the pressure of putting up with parents. There are a lot of people out there who mistakenly think high school sports is an avenue for their kids to get a college scholarship.” – Dick Durost, Executive Director, Maine Principals’ Association

“Parents are so much more involved now. They get involved at a very young age with the kids, so when they get to high school they want to stay involved where there should be some separation.” – Charlie Burch, Kennebunk HS lacrosse coach and a head coach for 27 years. (Hyde Phoenix lax fans know Charlie as the architect of the Cape Elizabeth dynasty that has vexed us for so many years!)

If you’re a parent and don’t think this applies to you, I’ve got an idea for you. Skip your kid’s next home game. Then debrief the experience with your kid the next day. How did your absence impact your kid? How did it impact you?

You can read the article at

Onward, Malcolm Gauld