I inserted the word “Sunday” because it makes for a catchy title; however, make no mistake, adults are more than capable of embarrassing themselves and their children on any day of the week.
Been there. Done that.
I had written a post two Sundays ago giving advice to youth sports parents and coaches about the proper mentality and behavior that one should ideally possess and demonstrate in front of a group of kids. I wrote this reminder as much for me as I wrote it for others.
Since that post, I’ve started rounding up a team of people I respect to help me turn a dream into a reality. I wish I could reveal what exactly I’m planning to do, but it’s too premature at this point to give away any hints. For now, I am publicly going on record to say that I’m building something that is directly aimed at adults who want to support youth athletes the right way.
Until this very real idea of mine comes to fruition, I have a very facetious 10-Step Process for everyone who wants to show their “support” of youth athletes without getting arrested.
Here are the steps to follow to ensure your kid has a good time with their friends playing a game that they (hopefully) love:
Step 1: Offer words of encouragement
Before your drop off your kid at their respective sports field, track, gym, tennis court, pool, etc., turn to them and say “Good luck. Have fun. I can’t wait to watch you.”
Step 2: Let your child out of the car and say goodbye
Make sure your child has all of their necessary equipment, and then reassure them you will watch every move they make from a controlled, semi-isolated locale.
Step 3: Find your nearest sports bar, bowling alley, Best Buy, basically anywhere there’s a TV
Find a way to live remote your child’s game to wherever you are in a controlled, semi-isolated locale.
Step 4: Make sure no other parents from your child’s team or the opposing team your child’s team is playing are within earshot
Because, let’s be real, 80 percent of youth sports parents are completely incapable of shutting their mouth while the action unfolds.
Step 5: Have a pen and notepad in front of you
Anytime you find a reason to criticize your child’s team’s coach or fellow players, write down your thoughts. Be specific about how you would do things differently.
Step 6: Drop your notes into the suggestion box that is labeled “Let your voice be heard!”
Hint: Just like at the office, the suggestion box is used merely to make you feel like you’re heard. Don’t expect anyone to actually read your rants.
Step 7: Yell out as loudly as you can all of the things your son or daughter should be doing better
Really, don’t hold back. The louder you yell, the better they’ll do, because…remember…they can’t hear you as they’re are having fun with their friends in an entirely separate location while you are having a self-induced aneurysm.
Step 8: Stop, look around, and realize that no one is watching your celebration dances, listening to your cowbells, or impressed by your overwhelming desire to reprimand officials
Take the time to reevaluate your life’s goals.
Step 9: Try to gain some perspective about the age group you are watching
Use the moments you had previously spent making everything a little too much about you to think of ways to make everything a lot more about your child.
Step 10: Pick up your child and repeat Step 1
Turn to your child and say “I loved watching you. I hope you had fun.”
I can hear the naysayers now. “But, Heidi, what if my…errr…my child’s team loses?! I’m not going to sugar coat things and pat them on the back pretending like everything’s ok.”
In response to that very real concern, I would counter, “It IS ok. Life is one big game, is it not? Those who are most successful learn to win AND lose with dignity and composure. And, in the end, the most fulfilled never lose sight of the fact that every swing, stride, pass, catch, stroke, backhand, and shot we take is a real blessing. Nothing is guaranteed. It can all be taken away from us in a heartbeat.”
Again, I am writing this post as much for me as for others.
Written by Heidi Woodard
It starts way too early. At 3-year-old soccer practice (which we dropped two weeks early. . .for shame), I saw parents yelling, KICK the BALL and dragging their little girls in front of other kids. The majority were not that way, but it did happen. Insert my daughter picking at blades of grass, and I realized neither of us were meant for soccer mom/daughter status. . .not now, and probably not ever. It is hard though. I get it. I imagine if I got to attend my son’s football games on a regular basis, I would be crazy football mom, but cursing at opposing team players and coaches is NOT OK. . .ever. Keep your emotions in check. It’s OK to be passionate and a fan of your kid without being a fanatic!
I’m sure you see this type of thing in teaching (allow me to attempt to make an analogy). The bad behavior kids tend to be the minority, yet they leave a really bad impression. I’m hoping to build the good parents, coaches, etcetera up. I vow to share their stories too.
As a soccer mom is it hard to sit quietly. We have a great group of parents that yell encouragement to all the girls on the team. It is always positive. My daughter is only 8 so there hasn’t been any thing that has come up that would be cause to set off any fanatical parents.
I am so happy to read this! We need more POSITIVE stories like yours out there.
If only we could make this mandatory for all parents of sports participants! Truth with humor slides down easier.
It’s so funny and sad at the same time. So many parents get so into the “game,” that they forget how many little eyes and ears are watching and listening to them. Thanks for the comment. Appreciate you stopping by!
I love that, a suggestion box where our thoughts are heard (in our minds that is)! The best part was watching from a bar….where is my daiquiri?
Yes! Daiquiris all around! Anything to keep our mouths shut while the game is in play. 🙂
I’m not gonna lie. I don’t miss the fact Marcus never participated in group sports. He didn’t care about it and Lucky for Me! This looks like alotta work!
I will always stick up for what sports has the potential of bringing into a person’s life (child or adult). I am just seeing grown-ups getting more and more worked up lately. Without having ever met Marcus, it seems pretty apparent to me that he has his priorities in check! 😉 Thanks for commenting.
This sounds like an awesome concept!!
Thanks. 😉 I should have probably included a disclaimer above…No pugs were harmed in the making of this post!