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