Having kids in sports is rough. So harsh apparently, a guy named Steve Henson wrote an article for thepostgame.com that educates moms and dads on how to become a great sports parent. Although I disagree with some of his assumptions, most of the article addresses some pretty basic, common sense rules for dealing with athletic kids.
Until I saw it. The it being a statement that made the back of my neck burn yeast infection red. In the piece, Henson mentions that most parents aren’t “stereotypical horrendous sports parents, (like) the ones who scream at referees.” Holy cow. To this guy, I’m beyond a nightmare sports parent. I’m a stereotype.
Let me set the record straight. Generally speaking, I’m quite well behaved at my kids’ games. I don’t know enough about soccer to garner an opinion. And normally I could care less about gymnastics or dance. As long as my daughter doesn’t use any of the skills learned on a floor-to-ceiling pole, or worse yet, on a teenage boy, we’re cool.
Now basketball tends to get me in trouble. I know enough about hoops to see right and wrong. So when I witness a foul or other infraction that the other team commits, I tend to blurt it out. Loud. So loud the ref can hear me. Ok, sometimes you could say I shout at the refs. But really? If you witnessed a bank robbery and observed a masked culprit escaping with a sizable stash, wouldn’t you holler for the police to get involved too?
Anyway, I’m bad. I know it. I didn’t go against any of Henson’s other little litmus test rules. But it doesn’t matter. Due to my harassment of those supposed humans in stripes, I must be the ultra nightmare sports parent. I always pictured myself as a bad-dream-after-Chinese-food type of villain instead.
Rather than be a hypocrite and act pristine and pure and deny my true ruthless nature, I’ve decided to embrace my new title. So therefore, I’ve listed several of my own Dos and Don’ts for crazed moms and dads like me who have little room- or hope- in the traditional framework of strong moral athletic role models such as Tiger Woods, Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger. Oh, our heroes.
FIVE WAYS TO BECOME THE MOST HELLISH SPORTS PARENT EVER
*Learn all the officials’ names, addresses, family information and car makes and types. Then, bring that Sicilian exchange student named Vinnie to all your games and gently remind the refs you have this material, along with several interesting photos involving fishnet stockings and bats from the changing room. Calls will magically start going your way 90 percent of the time. Rarely are broken kneecaps required.
*Teach your kids about the 1919 World Series, and how sometimes balls shouldn’t be caught if your mom has a Benjamin on a five-run spread.
*Locate all the dealers of human growth hormone and anabolic steroids in your city. You never know if your child may need to kick-start a growth spurt. Normally, the best place to find these people is around major league ballparks, but somehow business has dropped off recently. Congress and their inquisitions, hmph. Until then, prick your son with a toothpick daily to toughen up the skin around the future injection site. Also, give him or her hourly doses of Five-Hour energy and send him to the neighbors to practice his mad endurance skills.
*Make friends with all the other players on the team. Then, when tournament time rolls around, feed several of the better players Ex-lax-infused brownies. Playing time is playing time no matter how you may get it.
*Drink, curse and yell around your children. Many great athletes had horrible parents. Ever heard of a guy named Babe Ruth? Do you think his greatness was incidental? No. Obviously, his bad father drove him to do better. Or maybe he had so much all-consuming rage, the only way to cope was to take a bat to something. Either way, it works. Trust me, your kids will be thanking you later after they make it big, write a tell-all best seller and sue you for those well deserved extra percentages you took while you were their agent.
So, go forth, my minions. May we conquer the stands with our newfound power. And remember, no matter how terrible we become, we still have one thing going for us. We’re not parents of kids in the arts. Costumes? Solos? Marching in unison? Now talk about some nightmare issues…