Parents and the Joy of Sports
Parents and their children in sports is a hotly debated topic…especially when parents get unruly.
Many times the problem occurs because of the rose-colored glasses.
I had a very interesting perspective growing up on the baseball diamonds of Oak Hill optimist. I played under pony league rules which are very closely tied to major league rules.
Little league which you see on TV is completely different because there’s no lead-offs and steals. They have to wait until the pitcher throws before they can run.
The thing I noticed even at 7 was the difference in talent. I got to play pitcher as a tee baller and had 3 unassisted triple plays because I was fast (and also I didn’t trust my arm accuracy or my teammates’ ability to catch my throws).
We had a couple other good players and the rest sucked.
Problem was parents moaned and complained their son wasn’t getting playing time. Or their son wasn’t playing the position he deserved to play.
Parents often see their kid as the best player out there even though he’s a foot shorter than everyone else, weighs 50 pounds less, has zero coordination…and flat out sucks. He’s the type of player only a mother could love.
And therein lies the problem. Because mommy does love him she screams loudly for him to get more playing time. He should be a pine rider but unfortunately in most youth leagues there’s a “2 inning minimum play” rule.
So everyone on the team gets to play at least 2 innings no matter how big a liability they are nor how much they put the rest of the team in jeopardy by being out there.
Of course, on the flip side of the moms are the dads who attempt to live out there own failed sports career fantasies through their sons.
This often leads to lots of scolding and excessive pushing on little Johnny even though he may suck or have no passion for the game. Dad gets frustrated and can get to screaming.
You’d like to have a good relationship with your kids and not have to be a parent who screams. Believe me on the kid side we hate screaming parents kind of like most foreigners hate the “ugly American”.
Giving your child space to choose what sport they want to play and ultimately one they’re skilled at is very important. Support the child in their decision and give good reasons why playing is important.
When you do this it will make it much more enjoyable for each of you. Also, don’t get mad at coaches. They are often the only ones who’ll be honest with you about your child’s talent (or lack of).