If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

ff Note: This post is part of Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs, where all the cool kids are hanging out. (Moms are welcome over there!) Welcome to my visitors from DB; thanks for stopping in!

Our family has spent the last six weeks in the thick of lacrosse season. It’s been very, very busy, but glorious.

I love lacrosse. I absolutely adore going to the games (sorry, Weaselmomma), each and every one. I have even gotten a sub to teach two of my beloved Wednesday spin classes so I can get to a game. I like to scream from the sidelines, and I root for everyone on our team. Everyone. Of course, it helps that, this year, I’m the lacrosse club secretary: I think I learned everyone’s name-by-number (on their jersey) pretty quickly because I’ve typed up lists a few times!

The cameraderie on the sidelines is really cool. Seeing the same parents there, game after game, and getting to know them is a benefit of being involved in the sport your kid plays.

Mostly, everyone is very positive-sounding when we’re all doing our rah-rah-ing. Here’s some video so you can see and hear what it’s like when our team sets it up and then scores. (Excuse the video quality; I took it on my regular digital camera.)

Unfortunately, not everyone is so positive all the time. I’m not saying that all talk should be of rainbows and puppies. I’m not talking about when the other team scores or a player doesn’t make a catch and the parents say, “Aww, what happened?” I think that’s a natural reaction. I’m talking about when the comments get personal.

There is one parent on our team who made me insanely angry during our tournament last Sunday. (A little background: his son is one of the better players on the JV team, and he’s a freshman. I have no doubt that he will play Varsity next year.) This Dad says negative things about other players to his wife and anyone who is within ten feet of him can hear these comments.

Here are only two examples of what he said about MY kid during the tournament:

“Let’s see if he can clear it this time.” (Clearing is when someone throws the ball down towards the other end of the field. My son has good days and not-so-good days with this skill: just like any person has good and not-so-good days with anything)

“Aw, come on goalie! Man, WHAT IS HE DOING??? He is falling apart. Just falling apart.”

There was more, about my son and others, but you get the point. What I don’t understand is why he (or anyone) would be so thoughtless as to sit there and criticize other people’s kids, while saying things under his breath like “Get the ball to *insert his son’s name here*; just get it to him and he’ll score!” He didn’t know at the time that Jim and I, sitting near him, were the parents of the goalie he was loudly criticizing, but it doesn’t matter. You never know who you’re sitting near, right? (and this applies in any situation, not just sports!) I think the best thing is to say nice things or nothing at all. Team sports are called that for a reason. No one player is responsible for a win or a loss. Everyone has good days and everyone has bad days.

I was one more comment away from saying to him, “Until your kid plays a perfect game, please keep your comments about mine to yourself.” And then, of course, the game was over. I think, though, had we said something, we would have gotten the eyeroll and an apology that sounded sincere but really wasn’t, and he’d continue this behavior anyway. During the next game, Jim and I just didn’t sit by him. We enjoyed that game a lot more.

Do any of you have any experience dealing with parents like this? ARE any of you–or have you been–parents like this? (shed some light on the thought process, please!)




  • WeaselMomma

    I’m all about the be positive and cheer the whole team. There is one of these parents to be found at every game though.

  • Liz@thisfullhouse

    Sadly, this sort of stuff really does happen. However, parents here are more likely to yell at their own kids, not other people’s. Either way, they should hand out duct tape for parents (like the asshat in your story) who just can’t seem to shut their pie holes!

  • Otter Thomas

    There is always that guy at every sporting event. I think I would have punched him in the mouth. Congrats to you for being a bigger person and just sitting somewhere else.

  • Bella Daddy

    GEEZ YES, we get the same crap all the time…but for us, people want to know where we bought, how much etc…then are crticial for “spoiling our child” Sheesh!

  • Don Mills Diva

    Ugg – I think you showed admirable restraint – I would have gone all mother bear on his ass…

  • surprised mom

    I’m with everyone here on this issue and your title does say it all. You should do what one of my daughter’s coaches did to a loudmouth player one time. He looked her in the eye and said very plainly, SHUT UP. That’s it. It was very effective. Then use the duct tape if necessary.

  • Tara R.

    My kids played soccer. During one of my son’s games a dad did this same thing. I finally had enough and told him if he couldn’t just cheer for the team, he needed to stop yelling at the kids. He got in my face, just inches away screaming at me about how he had the right to do anything he wanted. I thought he was going to hit me. The thing that really bugged me though, was that as this guy was berating me and getting more and more angry, no one stepped in to help me.

    These were U10 kids, it was just a game.

  • Michelle

    Oh this is so one of my pet peeves. I hate parents who do this. At t-ball, we aren’t there yet (thank GOD), but at the baseball games where my husband is PA, you should hear some of the parents! I was somewhere recently where I reminded people that it was a GAME and supposed to be FUN but can’t remember where. I just hope they enforce the code of conduct as the wee ones get older. I’ve heard some real horror stories.

  • The Microblogologist

    Perhaps you should share with that father the story of one of my classmates, Pierre Pierce. As our star basketball player he could do no wrong. He was raised up as a star and I think his coach contributed to this (until he was forced to resign for sexual misconduct). He had to learn the hard way, hurt a lot of people doing so and I hope has actually learned the lesson (third times the charm right?).

    That man is a horrible example to everyone and especially to his own kid(s). Hope something knocks him down a peg before he causes more damage. Hope your kid couldn’t hear that nasty jerk, he needs a muzzle!