Chicago suburb installs fantastic signs to get parents to chill out at youth sports games

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

It’s not unusual for an athletic field to feature signs that advise about the rules of the game being played at the site. What is more unusual is for those signs to offer rules and reminders for parents rather than the athletes themselves.

These signs are now on display at Buffalo Gap fields to warn parents — Buffalo Gap Parks Department
These signs are now on display at Buffalo Gap fields to warn parents — Buffalo Gap Parks Department

In an endearing and humorously heartening response to the unending madness that is parental overreaction to youth sports, a suburban Chicago park district has installed permanent metal signs designed to remind parents that their young athletes are, first and foremost, young. Furthermore, the Buffalo Grove parks signs insists that they come to grips with the fact that their young athlete almost certainly will not ever compete professionally.

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Here’s actual text from the signs in question, in all their glory:

“Of the hundreds of thousands of children who have ever played youth sports in Buffalo Grove, very few have gone on to play professionally. It is highly unlikely that any college recruiters or professional scouts are watching these games; so, let’s keep it all about having fun and being pressure-free.

… “Referees umpires and officials are human and make mistakes, just like players, coaches and you. No one shouts at you in front of other people when you make a mistake, so please don’t yell at them. We do not have video replay; so, we will go with their calls.”

The signs are similar in tone and approach to displays installed in 2012 at area hockey rinks in Hoffman Estates, another Chicago suburb.

According to NBC Chicago, the signs were the brainchild of the Buffalo Grove park district, led by the Buffalo Grove park district public relations and marketing manager Mike Terson.

“We thought that if we put it in a way that people could relate to, as well as infuse a little humor, that the message would resonate and people might be more likely to comply," Terson told NBCChicago. "And hopefully for some, change how they look at youth sports altogether."

That may be a lofty goal, but Buffalo Grove is making strides toward it, one humorous sign at a time.

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