They say 55 isn’t old…for
a cathederal. I am reminded of this when accompanying
my 7-year-old son to his little league games, where I am often
mistaken for his grandfather. Becoming an old geezer has its advantages though, like getting discounted coffee at McDonald’s, as well as finally being too old to have a midlife crisis. And bringing up a fresh
of kids in the 2000’s has also brought me perspective on today’s
parents and how they differ with the parents of yesteryear.
Hearing reports of assaults and murders at youth sporting events
makes me wonder how people’s priorities get so distorted. Still only 2% of parents are jerks; the percentage being a
constant over the years, which really means that 98% of parents behave with restraint, consideration, and kindness. Coaches
too. But this article is about the 2%.
First on my list of miscreants, losers and jerks are dads who push their kid into sports- even when the kid has no interest- and then berate the kid ( sometimes even publicly)whenever he performs poorly. My older son
me about one of his teammates who dreads returning home after going hitless or making a dumb error in a game- because his father throws temper tantrums, and criticizes him. On an unconscious
level, this dad is probably responding to some long
ago schoolyard injustice or unassimilated drive to seduce
all cheerleaders-which compels him toward eruptions of his conflicted unconscious. Or perhaps it’s merely dad’s frustrated ambition to play pro sports, to which I say, give it up, and get yourself a real life instead of making yourself and your kids miserable projecting upon
them the bitter emotional fruits of your arrested development.
Another phenomenon, which I don’t remember from yesteryear, is a small but increasing number of people who
become coaches so that their own kid can be – take your pick-starting pitcher, quarterback, lead off hitter-
even when there are equally capable or better players. It makes you wonder
kind of example this sets about fairness. Then there is the parent who argues the umpire’s calls, questions the strategy of the coach and obnoxiously offers advice where it is neither needed nor
Ours is a hyper-competitive society. Red Aurbach said, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show
you a loser” Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything: it’s the only thing.” But professional sports is not a game,
but a business. And these men who play for vicarious gratification of mass culture
are primarily making a living, not engaging in a pastime. The problem is when coaches, parents and players confuse high school
and community sports programs with professional sports. Then they do nothing
to subordinate or redirect the power tripping, ego glorifying aspect of sports while missing the larger picture of sports’
potential for personal development. Just look at the growing use of steroids –even among girls. Yet very few of these
kids are going on to be professional athletes. The real lessons of sports therefore, are often overlooked and constitute a
The original idea of sports as a part of educational and community
not to just have a winning team, (what do you win?) but from an ancient idea, probably originating from the Greeks, about
a balance between the mind and body. While schools develop intellect, sports can develop character and impart valuable lessons:
facing adversity, leadership, courage, winning, working together toward a common goal, and (sorry Red Aurbach) losing- because
everybody loses at times. One who knows how pick himself up from the floor,
to brush off defeat, will not crack when the storms of life come -and they always will.
I have come to the conclusion that the world is a thousand times
more wicked and corrupt than I had ever imagined. Being a parent makes you
aware of the way the movie, TV and music industry get their
kids early and play with their brains, influencing them toward
precocious sex, drugs, violence, criminality, suicide, even Satanism. The New World Order wants kids dumbed down and fatherhood
deconstructed, with the desired outcome of producing a compliant
of service workers, mindless consumers, cannon fodder, and
citizens. I don’t say this out of a sense of pessimism
for I am an
optimist, but rather out of dispassionate observation.
Six million kids in America are on anti-depressants. Childhood shouldn’t
be a depressing time. I encourage my kids to play sports, to train hard and play to win, but when the game is over- forget
it and move on. And if
choose not to participate, that’s fine too. Youth sports is not war, not a business for entertaining the masses, not
a preparation for professional sports, but a pastime, and should be enjoyed.