Virtual Spaces and Emotional Places: Parent Spectator Behaviors & Sport Social Work Practice Implications
Keywords:spectator behavior, sport social work practice, family dynamics in sport, parent behaviors
The COVID 19 pandemic warranted modifications to spectating experiences of parents whose children participated in youth sports. Arguably, this time period is the first where parent attendance (physical presence) was (a) prohibited due to the shutdown of sports activities (b) required modifications such as mask wearing and social distancing in accordance with local regulations and/or (c) parents were forced to watch their children virtually. Parent participants had varied lived experiences tied to a plethora of emotions, ranging from detachment to gratitude. Within this practice note, the author discusses both an exploratory research study and practice implications for sport social workers and other practitioners seeking to better understand how parenting within the youth sport environment was influenced by the pandemic. Provided are highlights from the research study and a practical guide to assess the nature of these experiences upon parenting practices and their influence upon the family system.