ADailyDrama

Life just doesn't get any better…

Football Parents: Why are you yelling? Where’s the fire??

To continue my previous post, Frogger was excited and jazzed about football this year.  He has participated in some sort of organized sports team since he was six years old.  He has some manageable health concerns and I always worry about injuries, etc.  I try my best to be supportive because I realize that sports are his passion.

I must repeat that:  Sports are HIS PASSION, not MY PASSION.  Properly motivated with a teensy bit of positive reinforcement and this kid will move mountains for his team.

BUT I need to talk about parents behaving badly at sporting events.  Let me preface my comments by admitting that I yell.  I am proficient in sarcasm and the art of cursing.  I don’t need nor want to do a little tippy-toe dance around the Froglets.  They are not fragile pieces of china or delicate little flowers.  I don’t make a habit of glossing things over for them.  I call it like I see it.  In order for them to put their big boy/big girl pants on, they must learn to communicate, minus the bullshit.

Last week, our team played against a rival JV team.

This is how perfect the night was for a football game.  Everyone was in good spirits and anxious to get started.

The game starts and the team seemed to be holding their own for the first quarter.  By halftime, things begin to get ugly.  The team had lost their footing and was making some careless mistakes.  There weren’t a lot of supporters attending, just the regular group of parents and siblings.  We have a very vocal (and cliquey) group of parents that attend most games who like to shout and holler.  Okay.  I won’t be screaming in public, but it’s their prerogative if they want to make fools of themselves and embarrass their kids.  I won’t be carrying on like that, but whatever.

Then I see a parent call her kid from the sidelines and scream, “Next time you flip someone, take out their ACL or meniscus.  I don’t care which one!”

HOLD THE PHONE.  Did I just hear her correctly?  Did she really just publicly (and loudly) advise her son to purposely injure another player?  Shocking.  Surely me and Mr. Magnanimous are not the only ones dismayed by this….

Apparently, we were because we hear a collective chuckle from the cliquey group of parent yellers.

Let’s rewind for a minute… A few weeks prior, there was a serious injury after one of our lineman, in a fit of frustration, hit a player so hard that it broke his shoulder harness.  Yes.  The hard plastic shoulder harness.  The kid was hurt so badly, he couldn’t move his arms and legs and was rushed to the hospital.

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Now, I may not know all of the ins and outs of football, but I do know people.  This incident hurt morale so badly, the boys went back to the locker room and proceeded to try and knock each other senseless.  Meanwhile, the kid who was involved in the accident was so shaken up he sat motionless on the bench.  He didn’t MEAN to hurt anyone.  He just got caught up in the game.

If I ever hear a mother instruct her child to injure mine, manners and social graces be damned, I will punch her in the throat.

That’s a promise.

Ok.  Back to the present.  Next, a player on the other team takes a hit and falls to the ground.  I believe the proper protocol for this is for the player to hang loose and let the coaches check him out before he continues.  He’s laying on the ground, holding the ball and the coaches are coming over to check him out.  I hear one of our football dads yell, “Get up you big baby and let go of the ball!”  More chuckles from The Clique.  Are you kidding me?!

So I sit by in stunned silence for a while until the last quarter of the game.  By now, the game is just a train wreck.  The score was 35-0 and the players look panicked and sloppy.  They are making a series of mistakes and it is obvious their focus is gone.

Next, we have third parent jump out of her seat so she can scream obscenities after an uncomfortably bad play.  “YOU ARE MAKING THE SAME EFFING MISTAKES YOU JUST MADE.  COME ON BOYS, GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ASSES!”  And on and on she goes while veins are popping out of her head.  *Collective chuckling*

Seriously.

I am shocked, not only by the poor sportsmanlike behavior, but also by the mob mentality I am witnessing.  I have to ask myself a few questions:  Why are these parents so invested in this high school game?  What do they think they are accomplishing by acting like toddlers who didn’t get their way?   The verbal spewing is immature and selfish.  It is not a means to an end.  It’s a total loss of control.

Vomiting obscenities all over other people when YOU are upset is not something I choose to teach my child.  Not to mention that this woman, while yelling at the masses, is yelling at MY son also.  And he’s taking it personally.

She’s lucky I didn’t punch her in the throat.

This month is bullying awareness month.  How is this not bullying?  Parents are in a supposed position of authority.  Am I to advise my son to just disregard the comments?  Tell him, “I know it’s destructive and wrong, but your character is going to be rock solid!”   In the history of the world, when has that EVER worked?

My meager little attempts at, “Go team!” go unheard.  Everyone walks away with a bad taste in their mouth while The Clique feels superior because they know more about the game and they told the whole team how shitty they were.

Good job, parents.  I mean, really, kudos.  You successfully stripped anything positive that could have come out of this game.

*Slow clapping*

BRAVO!

*More slow clapping*

(Told you I was proficient in sarcasm.)

So I ask again, Why are you yelling?  Where’s the fire??

I’m not opposed to yelling in general.  I do some of it myself.  I have been known  to shriek out a, “You kids stop that bickering or I’ll start taking away privileges!”

When a parent is bellowing and howling at Coaches, Referees and Players, I don’t think they are super-cool and know their stuff.  I think, “Lil’ tyke must need a nap!”

Wish I could just punch them all in the throat.

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Frogger’s got game!

Frogger plays as many sports as our time and money will allow.  One season, against my specific instructions, he signed up for baseball, track and band.  Never mind the time constraints, when was he going to eat, sleep or do homework?   With three other kids, how are we even going to manage getting him to and fro?

We do love to see him play.  When he was just a chubby little six-year old, he played basketball in the Upward Bounds program.  He knew nothing of the game except that there were kids, a ball and he got to run around.  He has always been a big guy and his gross motor skills took a while to catch up to his height.  (He was my height when he was in second grade.)   He was actually pretty terrible at basketball, clumsy and awkward.  But this kid was passionate!

Once, after he had been up all night with an asthma attack, he kept insisting that he couldn’t miss his basketball game.  “My teammates NEED me,  Mom!”

Except his teammates never even passed him the ball… ever.

So we suited up and patched him up the best we could and off we go.  During the first half of the game, he struggled to get up and down the court.  At halftime, I tried to convince him that he had done his best but he needed a rest.  He would have none of it.  I was groaning and cringing to myself about the consequences of pushing through the whole game.  I was a ball of nerves.

The second half of the game was the same story.  He was having a hard time breathing, struggling to go up and down the court and never got the ball.  All of a sudden, he stops, looks around and pulls something from his pocket.  At first, I thought it was his inhaler and he was going to use it right there in the middle of the game.   I took a closer look and was horrified to find that it was his Power Ranger nunchucks.

I guess he was bored with the game because he started practicing his ninja moves.  I hear the other parents in the crowd saying things like:  “What is that kid doing?!”  “What in the world…”  The laughter starts to rumble through the crowd and Jacob now thinks he’s now the star!  The more the crowd commented, pointed and laughed, the better he thought he was doing.  Frogger’s got game!

So he needed to work on his focus a little, but he had heart.

Frogger before the game

His current passion is Football.  Frogger plays left tackle on the offensive line at his high school.  He played last year, but was on the B team.  He worked diligently all summer by working out, eating right and sprouted another couple of inches.

We did a lot of talking about how he was going to organize his time and if he was going to try and fit Marching Band in with Football.  We talked about spreading himself too thin and being mediocre at many things or great at one.  I try to play the role of “supportive mom” and not try and worry about injuries and performance.  After all, it is HIS passion, not mine.

Football season comes around this year and he is prepared!  I see his excitement build as practices progress and his first game approaches.

Now that I have told the setting, tomorrow’s topic “Football Parents: Why are you yelling?  Is there a fire?”

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