Sometimes I wish I could rule the world. Or at least part of it. Many times, the world I want to rule is the sidelines of a game in which one of my kids is playing. I have seen so many ill-behaved players and parents in my 30 years of participating, coaching, and watching kids' sports, and it isn't getting any better. If I ruled the world, I would only let certain parents on the sidelines to watch their children play. Some parents just suck the fun right out of a game, and I'm getting mighty tired of listening to them.
If I ruled the sidelines, each and every parent would have to take a short quiz while attached to a lie detector, (because, you know, desperate people sometimes cheat) before he would be allowed to set up a chair or park his rear end in the stands.
1. A child on the opposing team has a fast break and is about to score a goal. Do you encourage your child to...
a. Congratulate the player for executing such a nice play?
b. Get over it and try harder to keep the person from scoring again?
c. Trip the kid, even if it means getting carded?
2. When your child is playing, how does he interact with you?
a. He pays no attention to me whatsoever.
b. He looks to me to see a cheer when he makes an awesome play or a shrug or a grin when he makes an awful mistake.
c. He tells you to shut up after you've yelled at him from the sidelines one too many times.
3. At your 12 year old's cross country meet, you...
a. Stand in one place and cheer for every single runner that goes by.
b. Run around to different places on the course, cheering for every single person on your child's team and some kids from other teams.
c. Run next to your child for yards at a time, many times throughout the race, yelling for him to run faster.
4. Your child's team wins 2nd place in a tournament. You...
a. Don't even realize it, because you don't pay attention to the awards.
b. Congratulate your child and his team.
c. Throw the trophy away because it wasn't 1st.
5. Your child is 10. What do you think his chances are of getting a college scholarship?
a. He's going to play in college?
b. It's always a possibility, but why are we talking about this? He's only 10.
c. He WILL get a scholarship. He is a star player, and he will take every lesson he can and be on the best teams to ensure that he gets a scholarship.
6. A referee makes a questionable call. You...
a. Ask another parent what happened, because you don't know a single rule.
b. Make a little groan and get over it.
c. Yell either directly at the referee or indirectly in that "I'm talking to these parents, but I'm doing it in a really loud voice so you can hear my anger and know that I think you are an idiot" way.
7. Your child's coaches have asked that parents not coach their children from the sidelines. You...
a. Wonder what he could possibly mean by that.
b. Don't coach your kids, but grumble a bit when they do something wrong.
c. Continue to yell and coach your child, sometimes even contradicting what the coach has told your child to do.
8. Your relationship with the other parents on the team is...
a. Wonderful. You see games as a time to catch up with your friends.
b. Good. You don't see them outside of the sport, but you get along well and cheer for each other's kids.
c. Why would I want a relationship with the other parents? I need to watch my kid play!
9. When your child goes to a game, he has...
a. The uniform and some water if I remember to bring them.
b. His uniform, a bag with some sweats and a change of shoes, and a bottle of water.
c. Warm up shirts I bought for the team, every gadget in the sports store to keep him comfortable and give him the best advantage, UnderArmor everything, 2 bottles of Gatorade, and some energy bars.
10. While your 8 year old is pitching in a baseball game, you...
a. Are torn between wanting him to do well and wanting the cute little batter to hit the ball.
b. Cheer him on, regardless of how well he does.
c. Stand behind the umpire, yelling to your son, "Just throw it down the middle. This kid isn't going to get the bat off his shoulder!"
If you answered mostly a, you are welcome to join me on the sidelines. Your proximity to me will depend on just how many questions you ask.
If you answered mostly b, you are my kind of people and are welcome anytime. We know how to make a game fun!
If you answered any of the questions with a c, no game for you! You ruin the game for everyone, including your child. Sports are supposed to be fun, not stressful. Your child will not learn how to play if you are constantly telling him what to do. The referees are doing the best they can, and considering most referees are teenagers, shame on you for acting like such a jerk. Your child is a child. Let him be one. Let him have some fun. When you have meditated on this, seen the error of your ways, and calmed the heck down, I will welcome you back with open arms.
Have a lovely day!