Sports parenting never ends for some spectators

February 25, 2011

It’s been quite awhile since I was in the stands as a spectator at an organized sports game. I know, why else would I be in the stands anyway? Well, you never know.

Anyway, the last time I watched a game from there, I remember I sat next to a nice older lady, who unfortunately, halfway through the event, pulled a cowbell out of her purse, which she proceeded to ring so often that the cows did come home, the chickens did roost and a pack of pigs took off like a 747 airplane circling O’Hare airport.

I never regained my hearing until the following season.

So you can imagine my reluctance in repeating this spectator venue, but last week on a Friday night I found myself amongst the throngs of fans at an arena.

The game being played doesn’t matter. What matters is that the players were teenagers, which means coming in contact with the dreaded sports parent.
I was a sports parent once too. I recall as mothers we would attend our children’s games on a regular basis. In fact we looked forward to exchanging recipes, finding out who ran off with the milkman and of course, our main function at these games, providing transportation to the local emergency room. Oh, yeah, every once in awhile, we would look up and clap. We weren’t completely unaware and we weren’t saints either. But at that time, the game was for kids.

Believe me when I tell you, no one had a set of pipes like today’s parents though. Well, maybe my friend Irene Toodusci, but she had 12 kids and counting. Good night Irene!

Now I’m the kind of person who really loves sports, which is why the first thing I do when I get to the arena is to scope out the place. This is not for the best seats, although this is crucial, but for the closest spot near the concession stand. I hate the idea of walking a long way.

I love those hot dogs that have been bathed in ultraviolet light for the last week. I choke them down with a basket of fries that have been dipped in peanut oil that has been sitting in the bottom of a tanker, add to that a three-liter bottle of soda and you have the perfect storm. By the time I get to my seat with the gastronomical supplies, the first quarter of the game is over.
This means there is an angry rumble through part of the crowd, so you have to be careful picking out your seat. I walk gingerly, whatever that is, by both sections, pretending I’m rooting for each side, including the paramedics.
I think the safest place to sit at one of these kids’ games is in the middle so it looks like you are doing the wave for either team. The parents are quite sociable and civil, only calling for the referee’s head on a stick when someone on the other team scores.

By now, we are in the second period and I really have to pay attention to the game. In between screams of &*!!#** on the left and &**#@!! on the right, I notice a pair of large trunk-like hairy legs move in behind my seat on the bleachers. The weight of this body sags and bows the wood on the rest of the row.

This adult has a bullhorn, which announces every second in my ear some kind of charge of the light brigade war signal. In addition, whatever this person is consuming spills out of the mouth and down the back of my jacket.

Eventually I’ve had enough, so I turn around to confront this doofus.  Mom?

I guess you never get over being a sports parent.

You should be involved in your kid’s activities. Fortunately for the kids, we have to be in bed by eight, so they can get down to the business of playing the game.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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