Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sports fanatics

Parents and coaches should, sometimes, not be allowed in the same zip code. Or perhaps the parents should, during the games, always have to wear duct tape or gags.

Believe me, I totally understand getting into the game and yelling for better progress, disagreeing with a series of play calls, whining about strategy. You really have to know that I get that. I do these things while sitting in the stands. I co-parent with someone who does that (in spades). [Hi, Beast!]

I also understand that it must be really hard to have us armchair/grandstand bosses questioning everything the coach does, from play-calling to player-motivation, from clock management to how often individuals get onto the field (as in, "My son never gets to play" etc.).

When those two wells of frustration meet up because one parent is too frequent and loud in his commentary and the coach gets tired of being yelled at by someone who hasn't been at all the games, practices, meetings with other coaches...well, there will be fireworks unless one of them knows how to back down.

And of course the question really is: who is the one who should back down? Who is the one at fault when the shouting match starts?

My personal feeling is Put Up or Shut Up. If you can't support your kid in any other way besides yelling at his coach, but are at EVERY SINGLE ONE of another kid's games...if you don't have enough sense to back down when the normally very calm and stoic coach comes storming towards where you are sitting in the stands...if you are known to other parents for being a giant blowhard...then just shut up. You are giving the rest of us equally-frustrated-but-resasonable parents a really bad name, not to mention embarrassing yourself and (potentially) your son. There is also the chance that the coach's frustration with you could blow back on your son in terms of playing time or issues at practice. The latter doesn't seem likely: the kid is good at the game, plays offense and defense, and the coach (from my admittedly limited p.o.v.) doesn't seem like the type to vent on the kid. Other parents seem to disagree with that last point, but Sparky says he doesn't see it. Then again, Sparky sometimes doesn't see metaphorical oncoming semis so we can't really go on that.

The whole situation upset me more than it really should have. I don't like conflict, and I really don't like stupid parents. Frankly, the fact that Sparky has less than two years left of local schooling--which means less than two years left for me to pretend to like other parents to whom I mostly want to apply a Louisville Slugger--makes me so happy I can hardly stand it. See why I'm not a teacher?? The kids I could handle. Their parents...O.M.G. Night.mare.

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