Playing youth sports is one of the best things about being a kid.

It's about making new friends, getting sweaty, and living your best life learning a game or activity you love. It's low-stakes fun that can build confidence, teach sportsmanship, and encourage teamwork.

High school girls play against middle school boys in a game of basketball in Newtok, Alaska. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.


But there's something that can take the fun out of youth sports: pushy parents.

Every parent wants their kid to do well and enjoy themselves, but the line between being a fan and being a fanatic is easy for anyone to cross.

In this video from I Love To Watch You Play, real youth athletes shared how they feel when their parents are hard on them or try to coach from the stands.

They may tense up...

All GIFs via ilovetowatchyouplay.com/YouTube.

... or get embarrassed ...

and feel the kind of stress no kid should.

While the enthusiasm often comes from a loving place, parents pushing their kids to be better, faster, and stronger could make their kids lose interest entirely. In fact, 70% of kids quit sports by age 13 because it's not enjoyable or fun anymore, The Washington Post reports.

"We have to ensure in our society that we don't forget that we're still working with young kids," Anthony Lipani, a former high school football coach told the Democrat & Chronicle. "I think lines are blurred at times because of the competition."

Here are some ideas from young athletes for what to say and do instead.

There's no shame in being excited and enthusiastic, but nonverbal affirmations can go a long way too.

The same goes for after the game, win or lose. Show them you care and love them no matter what.

There's nothing wrong with encouragement, but remember, it's supposed to be a hobby, not their profession. If you feel yourself getting stressed, take a beat and remember what a joy it is to watch your child do something they love.

Because at the end of the day, it really is only a game.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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