There’s something about children’s organized sports that brings out the worst in normal people.
I have two daughters who played softball and basketball in a suburban park district league. I coached ten of their teams. It was a lot of fun ninety per cent of the time. But then there was that other ten percent….and it was always a parent getting too involved. Every. Single. Time!!!
I’m not sure what it is about kid’s sports that makes normal adults…people who you like and consider friends, turn into people you no longer recognize. But it’s very strange and sometimes scary to watch.
Here’s the thing that these sports parents forget about these games….it’s supposed to be fun. And oh yeah…there’s one other thing they forget…your child is not Michael Jordan. He’s not ever going to be Michael Jordan. He’s not playing in the NBA. Most likely he’s not playing on the high school team. SO CHILL AND RELAX!
Every time I saw one of these events, I always thought nothing could be worse. I was wrong.
The parent yelling at a teen age referee and causing his daughter’s team to forfeit a basketball game was bad. A coach yelling at a teen aged umpire over a bad call and then chasing him around the field was worse. Another coach getting kicked out of a softball game and then his assistant getting kicked out of the same game a few minutes later was a little worse. I still shake my head at all of this.
I don’t know….maybe it’s me. Before every season began, I had a meeting where I set down a few rules for the teams and parents. They were pretty simple. For the players, it was support your teammates in good times and bad. For the parents, it was cheer for all the kids and no yelling at them over bad plays. Also, no yelling or complaining about umpires or referees. Yep…just three little rules. Winning or losing the game didn't matter. Building relationships, learning about teamwork and having some fun was what it was about.
Seemed simple enough, right? Where in those three rules would a parent think it was okay to call a six year old girl playing t-ball a cunt because she didn’t run to first base after she hit a ball she thought was foul? Yeah, that actually happened and I thought I never would see anything close to that.
That changed today.
Here’s the story about two baseball parents/coaches who thought having one girl playing in their league would be a bad thing. Yep, girls playing with boys would taint the whole league.
How could they stop this?
These two geniuses came up with a plan where they would “bean” the girl whenever she came up to bat. They would throw baseballs at her head, hoping to discourage her enough to quit.
At least the bad behavior I witnessed was done because of the misplaced emotion of the moment. This was planned.
I always wonder goes through people’s heads when they do crazy shit like this. What's their mindset? It’s shocking that one person could come up with a plan like this. It’s even more shocking that he could find someone else that thought it was a good idea and agreed to go along. And yet, he did and they were going to go through with it until other parents found out about the plan. Sanity then prevailed. Thank goodness!
I think back to that day where the t-ball player was called that name. I was the coach that day and my reaction was to grab the parent by his shirt, push him up against the fence and tell him to sit in the bleachers and never say another word the rest of the season. Pretty sure I added a few fucks in that loud speech.
I also asked him as a parent, what he would have done if someone said that to his daughter, because he had just done that to mine. We never heard another word from him the rest of the season.
It’s two decades later. I occasionally run into this person and he’s still apologizing. I always tell him it’s okay. We’re good. I wonder if the people involved in today’s bad behavior story will get to that point.
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