I Met a New Type of Sports Parent Today, That I Did Not Like!

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I met a new type of sports parent today, that I did not like!

When your children play sports you run into all sorts of parents.  Parents who yell in the stands, at the coach or at their child.  Parents who believe their child will play Division 1 in college.  Parents who believe their child will make it to the respective “Bigs” of whatever their sport might be.

Parents who cheer on all the kids, even their children’s friends, who may be doing better than their own.  Parents who allow their child to pack their gear bag before the game is over because they both don’t know how to lose gracefully.  Parents who are good sports and parents who are bad sports.  We may have each unfortunately fallen into one of these buckets from game to game.  We all have a bad game.

Today, however I encountered a sports parent of a different type altogether.

Both of my sons play for the Joliet Pride Basketball organization. We’ve been with the program since it’s inception and my husband has coached some of the teams as well.

The teams have players from Joliet and the surrounding areas.  All of the teams are made up of diverse players with many different backgrounds.  While we are all aware of the diversity, we embrace it and are brought together by the love of the game of basketball.

My oldest son Ryan, plays with Coach Edmond’s sophomore team.  Coach Edmond has been their coach for several years now and I credit Coach with bringing the players together. They’ve learned to trust each other because of him.  Many times he has boldly pointed out their differences, showed them how to use their individual talents, made them understand each other, taught them how to work together and created a team.

Ryan’s team is no different than the rest in the organization, as far as diversity goes.  There are players who are white, black, short, tall, blonde, black and red hair.  There is also one that lost a Twitter bet and may have to shave his lovely hair.  His team is comprised of players representing Joliet Catholic Academy, Joliet Central, Joliet West, Lincoln-Way, Minooka and Bolingbrook.

They all love the sport and have, over the years of playing together, become a family or as they put it, brothers.  Even their teammates who have left the team to concentrate on other high school sports are still their brothers.

Today during the last of a three game tournament, I encountered this new sports parent. As the last game progressed there was some back and forth between the crowd. We pulled away in the 2nd half and won by at least 25 points, so it was a clearly a tough loss by the other team.

The opposing team’s fans were obviously not happy at the end of the game. One of their parents yelled to one of our African-American dads (about his child), “That’s great, he’s a great ball player and all, but I bet he has a low GPA. Where does he think he will go to college?”

Now do you need me to type that again or did you get that?  The other team was all white.

In case you were wondering, the player she was referring to on our team is an honors student, straight A’s, has a kind personality and can really play basketball.  Additionally, he’s in 8th grade, playing with sophomores so he hasn’t thought hard about what college he will attend…yet.

Yes, an African-American, 8th grade honors student beat your sophomore student’s team.  We are sorry that you are a horrible sport parent and we will be sure to let you know where he goes to college in 4 years.

Parents please keep it in perspective when you choose what type of sports parent or parent in general you will be at your children’s events.  It’s just a game but these are real children!

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