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Foul! Parental Interference!

As I mentioned last week, I’m a newbie to the whole playing-of-football thing and while I’m truly grateful for the side-effects it seems to be having on my boy so far, I can’t help but question some of the misconduct I observed during play, by a few of the parents!

I was only slightly perturbed when at a recent scrimmage game I overheard one dad in the stands telling another dad that he has given his son carte blanche on what he eats,

“I took away the vegetables. I don’t care what he eats as long as he bulks up.”

I was completely unnerved however by the actions of a few of the moms at the same game.

Tell me, is it really common place in football for a mom in the bleachers to stand up and yell out to her boy that for every kid he “hits”, excuse me, every kid he “hits and takes down– CLOCKS!“, he will get $50 from his dad?

“That could be an Xbox 360!” she said.

Or is it normal for a mom in the stands to threaten the loss of an activity to her son, if he doesn’t make a hit?

Some of these boys, like mine, are new to play and as expert as they may be when they watch the NFL, I suspect actually playing the game, is a tad bit different. You have to execute the rules you know so well by heart from watching. In this recent game, one newbie player from the other team had a tendency to put his hands up in the air, making it appear as though he was going to hit an opposing player, by way of fist.

You can probably guess how that played out; in a stock-pile tussle on the field ending with two boys crying and one parent spectator yelling out “Suck it up, man. Suck it up!” to his son.

I am all for NOT raising pansies. In fact, I happen to think parents in general coddle their kids a bit too much these days. Me included. I won’t let my girl go beyond our cul-de-sac without permission and when we move, I probably won’t let her go out at all. Meanwhile, when I was her age, I walked through town to go to school, meet a friend or to the movies, completely on my own.

The idea of yelling at an 11-year old to “suck it up!” after having just been punched and piled upon though, to me, seems a little extreme; among other things.

Worse was when one of our mom’s started screaming at one of our player’s dad because she mistook him for being a parent of an opposing player. Yes, for all the players and spectators to see and hear, this mother of one of our 10 to 12-year old boys, ripped this man to pieces from across the stands because he called out that the play was getting too rough. That prompted a screaming debate between actual opposing parents in the stands on whether or not kids who did not want to get “hit” (or hurt) should play at all.

  I thought they were here to learn the rules and play the game. Am I wrong? Am I being naive?

Football is an aggressive sport and tackling is part of the game. They have gear, they’re protected. I get it. I think competition can be healthy and I consider myself a fairly competitive person. I like to win, just as much as the next gal. And if no one knew I was at the game beforehand, there was no mistaking my presence when my boy got the ball, broke through the center hole and shot down-field like a bullet for his first touchdown!

WooHoo!! THAT’S MY BOY!!

I am after all, his biggest fan.

These boys are 10, 11 and 12-years old. They don’t need to be encouraged by parents to exhibit barbaric behavior. They just need to be encouraged. Even at 12, our children watch closely what we do and say. The power of example is a strong one.

Every year when I register my kids for soccer, I’m handed a piece of literature entitled Parents Code of Conduct. I’m asked to read and sign it. The first time I read it, I thought to myself, “Really, is this necessary?”  Perhaps it is. As I’ve never seen the same kind of behavior I witnessed at my first football game at any of the soccer games I’ve attended over the past seven years.

And while I must say, I was impressed by the way the coaches handled the boys on the field, I call, “FOUL! “on the way the parents’ behavior interfered with the game.

And to think, this was only a scrimmage.

Any advice on how to get through this from the not-so-newbies out there?

Photo credits: Google Images

  1. singleworkingmomswm
    August 21, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Wow, I have heard of these parental sports horror stories! I don’t have any words of wisdom as I’m raising a 7-year old daughter who has no desire (at the moment) to do anything that may contain the word “hurt” in it, ha, ha. I do agree with everything you said, however, and appreciate the need to seek some advice on how to deal. But, I will say “good luck” as you weather this new road with your son, and congrats to your him for making his first touch down-even in a scrimmage!


  2. August 21, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Thank you for reading and commenting, SWM. I had been warned but truly, it seemed harsh. The coaches have a great perspective on things however, so I suppose it’s a matter of keeping some of the parents at bay. Meanwhile, my game plan is to watch and listen.


  3. Anonymous
    August 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    some of these parents are showing very bad example to their children,
    they should be taken off the field.


    • August 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Yep, anonymous….they sure should.


  4. August 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    My two girls play softball and even some of those parents get out of control. It’s like they’re living vicariously through their kids. It’s a shame.


  5. August 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Karl, I suspect no sport is safe! Thank you for reading & commenting.


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  1. February 5, 2012 at 12:09 am

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