Just now I started to blog nasty things about football parents and it was all sounding very familiar, so I looked back at August 2012, and sure enough, I blogged about it then. Here’s what I said last year at this time, and I mean it even more this year. Just ignore the part where I whine about my hair—not that those complaints don’t still apply too, but OMG, I was really annoying whining about my hair like that. Thanks for not telling me. Sheesh.
So, yeah, apparently football parents can be real jackholes. As an adult, I’ve seldom been told preemptively to behave like a decent human being; this makes the second year in a row I had to go to a meeting to hear exactly that. And again, it just surprises me so much that these things need to be said.
I know I don’t always make the right decisions about how best to handle situations that make me unhappy. I know I can be a jerk. I fully admit that I go into the football season every year with a frowny face. But I know my place when it comes to being a football parent. That, I know.
Here’s why Victor and/or I would contact my kid’s coach:
- To tell him Jack is going to miss practice (rarely happens)
- To tell him Jack is going to miss a game (never happens)
- To tell him Jack’s arm fell off (you never know)
Here’s why Victor and/or I would contact the head coach or league president:
- To tell him we’re pretty sure the kid on Jack’s team with the full beard isn’t 11 years old.
- To tell him we discovered that Jack’s coach looks exactly like and has the same name as the president of NAMBLA.
Here are things Victor and/or I would NEVER say to my kid’s coach, the head coach, or league president:
- “I want Jack to be on [specific coach or player’s] team. Make it so.”
(This is a tough one… the right teammates make carpooling to practices so much easier!)
- “Why did you let that other kid go in for Jack in the second quarter? He’s way better than that kid. I’m emailing you a list of reasons right now.”
- “When will Jack get to play quarterback? He’s worked so hard! I’m emailing you pictures of him in an NFL jersey right now.”
- “Jack only got 136.5 seconds of playing time in the last game. The other boys played 142 seconds. No fairsies!”
- “I’ve been watching video of the last three games we lost, and I’ve come up with a great play I’d like to share with you.”
- “Can I stand next to you during the games? Maybe occasionally yell things?”
- “Remind me again: what exactly is a ‘down’?'”
Every one of us is committing our entire fall season to football. The coaches and league board members volunteer incredible amounts of their time to making it a good one. Our job, as good football parents, is not to see if our kid can get special treatment, or to offer up our vast football knowledge, or really, to question the way the league runs. We take our kid to practice, get him the gear and apparel he needs, go to his games, and cheer for his team. We praise our kid, win or lose. We encourage him to work hard, be a good teammate, and have fun.
But some parents think the coaches need help doing their jobs, and those moms and dads are the ones that have made a parental behavior contract a necessity for all of us. Pffft. What are we demonstrating to our kids?
People super-suck sometimes, and when I am reminded of that, it changes the way I look at the world—and not in a sweet-tea-and-sunshine* kind o’ way. I’d like to practice an act or two (or eight) of kindness today to balance out the universe a bit. If you’d like to join me, here are a list of really easy ideas found with a quick Pinterest search:
- Send a snail-mail card to someone
- Pick flowers from your yard and give them to someone whose day needs brightening
- Put coins in a vending machine to surprise the next customer
- Give another driver your parking spot
- Donate to Goodwill
- Pass popsicles out to the neighbor kids
So, yeah. Let’s be nice.
*Yep, that’s a shout-out to Sherilee, who manages to stay positive, or at least blog that way, even when faced with stuff that sucks. Good on ya, Sher!