Now that my boys are old enough to start enjoying sports, I have “won” the privilege of driving to towns an hour or so away to watch the boys play football for a league team. Yesterday was their first game, and I had a great time watching them play rather clumsy football and enjoy the experience of playing on a real football field for the first time.
I’ve read stories about helicopter parents who just refuse to let Johnny make any mistakes out on the football field, but it was rather shocking and saddening to see it in person, and I know the examples I saw were mild ones.
Third and fourth graders played the first game, and there was one dad who decided that the refs were just WAY out of line, so he yelled his opinion out to them. Luckily one of the coaches politely reminded him that parents were not allowed to harass the refs, but I was still amazed that this parent took this game SO SERIOUSLY. These are 3rd and 4th grades, for pete’s sake! Adults are supposed to be the role models, not the ones doing embarrassing behavior.
Later on a mom did the ultimate helicopter thing when she went over the fence, across the track, and pulled her kid aside to COACH HIM in the middle of the game. When the real coach saw this kid not with the others and not paying attention to the game, he told him to get back over there, but the mom actually followed him, continuing to bend down, point at the field, and give her pointers as the kid walked back to the sidelines. Seriously, people? Perhaps next year you’d like to devote your nights and Saturdays to coaching little kids’ football. Until then, let the real coaches do their job.
Although I’m glad that parents are not allowed to voice their opinions to the referees, I heard a lot of the chatter while I was standing along the fence with the other parents. So many times I wanted to remind them that this was supposed to be a friendly game of football for kids who are enjoying the game. There will be mistakes. In fact, there SHOULD be mistakes. How else will they learn?
As a teacher, I watch these games and hope that the parents show as much enthusiasm about their kid’s academic progress as they do about their football skills.
Wishful thinking, I’m sure.