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Mum and Dad

Am I the only parent who thinks kids' sports should be fun?


Melissa Willets

posted in Parenting

I’ll never forget standing on the sidelines of my first grader’s first soccer game, and laughing and clapping along as she aimlessly ran around the field, only peripherally aware that there was supposed to be a ball involved. She looked so cute and it was such a kick (get it?) to see her trying out her first sport.

But I’ll also never forget that next to me, a mom of another girl on the team was yelling like a drunk maniac at the Super Bowl. Every play was life or death to this woman, and honestly, my blood pressure rose just standing in proximity to her stress. I can’t imagine how she felt inside!

On the way home, my husband and I rolled our eyes at this mom’s behavior and joked that maybe she’d had too much coffee. To think a 6-year-old’s soccer game could get someone so unglued! But looking back, I realize that game was my formal introduction to the world of obsessive sports parents, who, whether they know it or not, are sucking every ounce of fun out of athletics for not only their kids, but mine, too.

Since that day on the soccer field, I’ve had many unfortunate experiences coming into contact with moms and dads like the yeller at my daughter’s game, but worse.

Let's keep kids' sports fun, parents!

If your kids play sports, you know the type. These parents usually take the best seats at the swim meet, or chastise you if you happen to block their view of the T-ball game, even for an instant, even as you try to watch your kid play, just like they are doing.

In the obsessive sport parent’s mind, their child is somehow more important than yours. And, they are always right. About every call, every play, and every rule. These parents are intense, from their obligatory and expensive-looking camera equipment that requires so much room to set up you’re lucky to catch a glimpse of the game or meet, to their team spirit wear that lets everyone around them know that they mean business. But mostly, it’s these obnoxious parents’ attitudes that’s a turn-off.

They’re so much more intent on their kid winning or performing perfectly or being the fastest and best, than on their child learning from the coach or other kids. Or maybe making friends. And having fun. Or just getting some activity. Which are the main reasons my young children play sports. When they still play with dolls and watch cartoons, and call daddy to check for monsters under the bed, I sign my girls up to play sports so they can feel good about themselves, meet other kids with similar interests, get exercise, learn about sportsmanship, and most of all, TO HAVE FUN!

That’s why I hate when parents scream and holler like their entire lives depend upon their kid making a goal. Don’t they know they are scary to all the kids on the team, and only serve to make them nervous? And that they are rude? I had a parent tell my 4-year-old she was blocking her view of her kid at a recent swim meet my older daughters were participating in. Um, lady, she’s like 3-feet tall. But okay. I also listened in disbelief as parents around me let out blood-curdling shrieks “cheering” their kids to the finish. I’d probably only scream like that if a shark was chasing my child. But again, okay.

I’m not sure what these parents are thinking acting like this. Do they suffer from a delusion that their kids are professional athletes? Is there a salary for pewee football players I don’t know about? Are they vicariously living through their kids, trying in vain to get them to accomplish something they never did? Are they overmedicated?

None of these reasons would justify some of the behaviors I have seen and heard about sports parents getting away with at their kids’ practices and games. Like insulting other kids or parents on opposing teams, and even on their own side! Getting violent. Using profanity. Treating other parents like they are somehow inferior just because their kids are new to the team.

Shame on all these parents! Seriously, get a hold of yourselves! Remember that children are just that: children. We should be signing them up to play sports for the fun of it; and sure, a little healthy competition is okay. But don’t ruin sports for your kid forever. And most of all, don’t ruin sports for me and my kids.

Have you witnessed out-of-control sports parent behavior?

The post Am I the only parent who thinks kids' sports should be fun? appeared first on BabyCenter Blog.

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