I could write a book (and maybe I will) on the things you hear on the sidelines at youth sports games. Some of the things you hear would make your mother cry, except it was your mother who said it.
No. 1 has been playing organized youth sports since he was five and subsequently, all of his brothers have followed suit. I have been listening to the parent circus long before the boys started in sports and I’ve actually participated in the shameless act of flinging insults at officials, opposing fans and of course at five-year-olds who can’t understand why the seriously demented Polynesian guy keeps yelling profanities and calling him out to the parking lot!
If you haven’t heard a parent telling their player to “kick him in the head” at a Rec. Center basketball game then your kid is probably on the chess team or choir. Cheerleaders? Forget it. Those girls and their ‘I never made the cheer squad’ mom’s are worse than soccer hooligans. Those women actually kill people for their kids!
I was once “That Guy”. You know him as the idiot who berates the ref before, during and after the game even when his kid is scoring the most points and his team hasn’t lost a game in three years. This is one of the blessings of old age and experience. When I realized that “That Guy” is a pariah at end-of-season barbecues and his kid gets shunned because they assume he’s just like the old man, you tend to change your tact a little bit.
Now I’m “The Other-That Guy”. The one who sits back, listens to the crowd and laughs at the absolute stupidity and insanity of the whole situation. Just the other day I listened to a coach tell his players to go out and break another players legs. That guy is not going to win any coaching awards but he’s definitely getting my vote for “Idiot of the Year”.
And if a person thinks that their kid is not going to pick up on that stuff than they must be an utter imbecile. At my son’s indoor football game I overheard the following conversation between two 10-year-olds:
“Remember that team?”
“Yeah we played them before.”
“We lost to them, right?”
“Yeah, they’re just a bunch of A-holes!”
Their coach (and I’m assuming a father of one of the players) stood nearby and appeared to be completely clueless. In response, I became “That Guy” again. I shouted, “Hey! Watch your mouth!” and glared at the coach/dad who again appeared to be oblivious. Another dude in line for a Coach of the Year award.
This past Saturday a coach was so belligerent and offensive towards a referee in our rugby match that the referee finally stopped the game and yelled, “Coach! Shut your pie-hole!” Horrible coaching etiquette, equally inane response.
I’m all about being passionate and spirited for your team. Teams need that motivation and support from their fans. But when you’re acting like a complete fool, yelling profanities and asking kids to hurt other kids, you’re the dumbest, lowest form of human being.