I’m sure you’ve seen the news recently with parents at Little League games, sunshine, concessions, Jr playing 2nd base. When all of the sudden a brawl erupts and the police are called!
I just cannot fathom this behavior, don’t get me wrong other parents say I’m the LOUDEST cheerleader on any team, but I’m cheering not screaming at my kid or the Referee.
My daughter is in 6th grade and we’ve been participating in sports activities with her since she was 5. She plays spring and fall soccer, swim team, basketball and maybe volleyball this year. Plus she loves to run in races thanks Girls On The Run ( a great organization to encourage girls to be fit, confident, athletic and kind to each other).
I tell you this because I want to give you an idea of length and scope of families we’ve met over the years.
When she was young it was little local neighborhood leagues, then the YMCA, our swimming pool Swim Team and CYO.
If you’re not familiar with CYO it stands for Catholic Youth Organization. They are all over the country in probably every Archdiocese. I believe the primary purpose is for Catholic schools and families of these parishes with children enrolled in public schools to have a league of their own to compete against.
More on this later……(dun dun dramatic pause)
So when we played for the YMCA we had a team mostly made up of kids from our school and a few brave *parent volunteers and other schools. Each school builds up their own team for whatever sport and the Y provides the referees (sometimes middle school kids or college students). You get cool little t-shirts and the kids get a trophy at the end of a season.
But mostly they get to make friendships, build skills, exercise and parents visit amongst themselves while we cheer our mini-me’s.
*Thank the Lord for parent volunteers, without whom many of the leagues would never exist and that would be a huge deficit.
One Saturday morning we all our watching our little 4th grader co-ed team play soccer when a dad erupts from the side lines beside me (from the other team) yelling at our coach over some suspected slight. My poor unsuspecting husband is sitting between us (minding his own business aka trying to tune me out)
I jumped up and told him to sit down and stop acting crazy, I guess I should mention he was HUGE over 6′ tall and burly, my husband is all of 5’3″ but built like the mini Hulk. He was shouting that his kid was out there and such and such is unfair. I said “Hey everyones kids is out there and here you are screaming at the coach in front of ALL our kids! So sit down and be quite. He sat down and my husband breathed a sigh of relief I’m sure.
Summation ” I guess we’re NOT playing for Jesus in this League” #disgusted #RabbleRouser #Naïve
FOR THE RECORD– I hate bullies! I was bullied as a kid and now as an adult I can not fight down the urge to defend other people, probably at my own peril sometimes. I’m not a vigilante but I have seen The Punisher several times. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Meanwhile all the parents (dads included thanked me quietly for shutting down the bully) I swear I don’t know what came over me, I just loathe bullies and I am a FIERCE mama bear when pushed.
During the course of my daughters sports I have seen some brutal nasty underhanded tripping, shoving, intentional elbowing to the sides, etc. During one such game one of our players (a tough no nonsense girl named Hannah) was knocked to the ground flat on her face and the ref didn’t call a time out. Hannah lay on the field and didn’t get up, while the the rest of the team kept running around and over her. So I shouted for the teams to “Take a knee!”
This means STOP play and wait till the injured player can be helped off the field and checked by the coach. All these little girls stopped dead and dropped to a knee. Hannah was taken off the field and the Ref yelled at them to only listen to his whistle to stop play (to borrow a line from Brittany Spears “Oops I did it again!”).
Consequently I had a long talk with my daughter about what I expected from her in her sporting career.
- Have fun it’s JUST a game.
- You’re playing for Jesus! For Pete’s sake these kids are all from other Catholic schools.What does it say when you beat the crap outta of the other kids just to win?
- Play fair NO MATTER what, I don’t care if you Win or Lose as long as you play with Good Sportsmanship.What’s the point of “Winning” if you can’t play with integrity.
Once my daughter was complaining about her coaches and her team, about how unfair everything seemed. I said “Look every single parent here is a volunteer, they are not making a dime to coach you. Also you’re not getting paid to play either.They are taking time away from their families to teach you the love of this sport (fill in the blank).If you really love this sport it doesn’t matter if your team wins, but every minute you get on the field, court , etc is making YOU a better player, no matter the skills of the rest of your team”.
These are parents who are lawyers, surgeons, Stay at home mom’s with 3-5 kids, Airforce Colonels,Professionals, etc. who take time out of their busy schedules to coach my kids! I am humbled and blessed at their levels of commitment, because I’m not out there doing it.
Obviously I don’t take this entire kids sports to seriously thats because I am realistic about the fact that maybe only 1% of the population will actually become elite athletes or Olympians for that matter. That’s probably WON’T be one of my daughters, but as long as they have fun, get exercise and it builds their confidence thats a win in my book.
Also I don’t think I’m living out some FAILED sports dreams through my kids achievements. Although I do scream/cheer super loud at swim meets, when I see my girls out swimming my best times in the backstroke.
Cut to this weekends first basketball game of the season, 4th quarter, 5th grade girls basketball game, our gym. A visiting parent had apparently been screaming at the refs throughout the entire game until at this point he JUMPED up and was screaming at the top of his lungs at the 6’5″ “built like a LineBacker referee. Telling the ref to learn the rules. Where upon the ref said “You need to learn the rules this is the last 3 minutes, etc.” The dad backed down, but later proceeded to talk loudly throughput the following teams prayer leading up to the beginning of the next game. #Disrespectful
Apparently this has become such a problem that the Archdiocese has hired a part-time parent to eject these unruly parents from games!
Seriously! We’re talking about a kids sporting event not Soccer hooligans in Europe rampaging a stadium.
Courtesy Saturday Night Live
Another parent told me about a group of parents that nearly attacked another coach at a YMCA game until she screamed at the approaching mob that she was a City Prosecutor and would see them ALL arrested before they day was over, narrowly avoiding a brawl.
During our next game on Sunday (way out in the boondocks), few parents showed up for either side. But we all (maybe 25 in total) sat on the same side of the gym. I felt bad for the other team because our girls just kept scoring (final score 26-6) so I cheered for the other team too. So did my fellow team parents. We all know those long depressing rides home after a complete shut out.
You see we’re parents and we want to encourage ALL of these girls to do their best and have fun. NOT just our team but all of them.
As Catholic Christians we want to set examples for our children that we are showing Gods love for our neighbors.
I have to imagine that some of these parents are frantic for little Debbie or Tommy to get a full ride scholarship to college, but that does not excuse their abhorrent behavior.
Our kids are mirrors of our behavior, every sweet or nasty thing my kids do is a reflection of how I treat them or how they see me treating other people in our lives. Period.
So what kind of example do you want to see your children modeling?
Pilar The Papist Squirrel