Football is in full swing again which means that we our days and evenings are consumed by all things football. The season is hardly past its first week and already there are signs that some of the teams that the boys play on are having issues with the number one killer of youth sports – parents!

No. 1 played on Friday – his team did not get the result we all hoped for but the team fought hard and though there is definitely room for some serious (offensive) improvements, the boys showed determination and heart in their second loss of the season. No. 1 is in his senior year so the losses this year will be more heartbreaking than the ones that they have endured in their three previous years together. The primary complaint from parents in the stands has been the obvious lack in offensive production. Not a big surprise considering they run the Double-Wing which leaves very little to the imagination. However, the boys are intent on making this their best season ever and as a parent I support them completely in that goal.

No. 2 decided not to play football this season so the only parents complaining about his performance are his own. His workload around the house has increased to develop and hone his ‘quick-twitch’ muscles during his long off-season. This may help convince him that his decision to forgo this season required more serious thought and reflection.

No. 3 played in a game on Saturday that started out a bit rough (they were down by 20 points midway through the 2nd quarter) but it ended on a high note as the team scored 34 unanswered points for a very convincing win. Unfortunately the win was sullied by parents who barked at coaches after the game because “Billy” and “Bobby” didn’t get to play. C’mon people this is a competitive league not the ‘trophy for participation’ league at the local YMCA. If your player did not play in a very closely contested game, chances are the coaches thought it was important to put the athletes that gave the team the best chance of winning the game. If you think the coaches are being selfish don’t you think you are being a bit selfish for wanting “Billy” or “Bobby” to have their chance in the spotlight at the expense of the team?

No. 4 has not played yet but I’m guessing that there will be a few parental meltdowns’ that will give me more fodder to write about. Stay tuned.

No. 5 played but it was relatively quiet because our family sat in the far end zone and did not hear much chatter on the sidelines. Even the post-game commentary was held to a minimum because there was a downpour at the final whistle that sent everyone scrambling for their cars before they had an opportunity to let their festering thoughts fly unabated.

Yes, coaches have their own way of doing things. We may not all agree with it but they are doing a thankless job, spending countless hours worrying, studying, devising the best possible scenarios for the best possible scenario. Everyone would be coaching if all you had to do was run practices, teach boys and match wits with opposing coaches. Unfortunately that’s only 15% of your job as a coach. The other 85% is spent explaining, defending and pleading your case with parents.

After No. 3’s team walked away victorious on Saturday, one of his coaches called to apologize that No.3 didn’t get more playing time. My response was to the point, “You don’t ever have to apologize to us about playing time. All of my boys know that they have to earn playing time and we won’t have it any other way.”

Am I wrong or should playing time be determined by some other criteria besides merit?