With so many of my posts, I draw inspiration from other columns or articles I read shared by those I am friends with on Facebook. I came across a column within the last month discussing roles in youth sports. The premise was let coaches coach. Let officials officiate. Let players play.
As I was reading, I began thinking of the day that I become a sports parent. It’s a day I have been waiting for a long time. My love for sports isn’t quantifiable so being able to share that love with my own child is special to me.
Every Monday night, my son knows daddy is going to play basketball. Every Sunday night, my son knows daddy is going to play football. It is not something I can just give up. Aside from the 9 months I was shelved because of my knee, I haven’t been away from sports for more than a couple of weeks since I was 4.
Whether it is my son or unborn daughter that take a liking a sports, that will be a happy day for me.
Of course I have my preferences in which sports I want them to compete in. In a perfect world, I would love for them to compete in either soccer or basketball and swim. I have my thoughts on football which can be saved for another column.
While some may find those sports odd because of love affair with the NFL, no sport compares to soccer and basketball for me. Those are far and away my two favorites. Ironically, it is the two sports I wanted nothing to do with as a child.
Let’s be clear on this, if they grow up not liking sports, I won’t hold that against them because I want them to blaze their own trails. For the sake of the column, let’s assume sports become a large part my children’s lives.
I want them to enjoy it as much I did. I don’t want them to worry about what happens if I miss a shot or what happens if I strike out. Fuck it, give it your all, compete and have fun and the rest will come. That is good enough for me.
That won’t happen if I become the overbearing sports parent. Whether I am too involved with them while they’re competing or too wrapped up in what the officials are calling or too focused on what their coach is or isn’t doing, it wouldn’t be fair to them.
My moment passed 13 years ago when I quit my high school baseball team as a sophomore. I have been relegated to glorified beer league play.
Now it is time for me to step back and let my children do their thing. Of course I will do my best to guide them and help them. If I am lucky enough, maybe even coach them. I know there will be days I will have to wipe away tears because they lost. I know there will be days where their best just isn’t good enough. There will be days where mentally, they aren’t ready to compete. There will be days where a coach pulls them when maybe they shouldn’t have been and I have to console them without undermining the coach. It’s all inevitable.
Much like there will be days where they fail on the field or court, I will fail as the sports parent.
That is the beauty of sports is learning from failure and adjusting. Not just physically, but emotionally. It is teaching them how to handle winning and losing. I hope I never become that overbearing piece of shit dad who is trying to live vicariously through them. If I do, someone slap me.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem is going to be competing with the outside noise of the other sports parents. After I read that column, I started watching YouTube videos of bad sports parents. I started thinking about the times I have witnessed bad sports parents.
I was at a flag football game for someone a few years back and witnessed a coach berate his child on a level I can’t look past. The coaches son was not snapping the ball well. Every time there was a bad snap, he would get in his face and yell. Keep in mind, these kids were 6-8. The boy, clearly upset, started to cry and his dad said now you’re crying like a little girl and that he was an embarrassment.
Let me get this right, you’re asking your young child to get a grip on his emotions when you can’t…makes sense.
Why don’t you do your job as a coach and coach instead of screaming like an asshole which is clearly not helping? It was one situation where if a parent stepped in to go after the coach, I wouldn’t fault them. That wasn’t coaching. It was bullying.
Another event I went to was a baseball game where a dad in the stands kept making comments at every single thing the coach was doing. He was pacing around like he was looking for a goddamn meth fix. He kept insulting the kids under his breath. I have seen parents act like that on more than one occasion. I’ve dealt with parents like that on more than one occasion.
Then of course you have the most deplorable of the bunch, the parents who talk shit to the children of the other team. I can’t think of any particular stories of where this happened to me mainly because I always did a good job as a player of ignoring outside noise.
But I know these are all things I will inevitably see and hear with my children.
Honestly, I am not sure I have the capability to idly sit by and watch instances like that unfold. Mainly because I don’t want my children’s youth sports experience to be ruined by these assholes.
Secondly, people like them are honestly just fun to troll. Mainly because I think parents like that have deep insecurities or regrets from their “glory” days. It would be fun to tug at that a little bit.
Maybe that makes me an asshole too, but don’t ruin sports for kids.
This is one of the funniest videos I found. LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE HOME TEAM!
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