This weekend my husband and I had the opportunity to share in the love of a sport our children enjoy. We followed their team almost 4 hours away to root for them and share in the team’s success in learning how to play together.
First, let me say I feel extremely grateful that our children have never had a coach that demeaned them by calling them names or yelled at them asking derogatory questions like, “Do you all WANT to lose?” This year is no different. Both the coaches have been wonderful supporting each child all while trying to build a team of teenagers with different backgrounds and views of the game. But, believe me..these kids are in no way babied. There’s some tough lessons and lots of hard work going on. Our children talk to us about a lot that goes on on the field both during practice and at the games. Another things in which I feel extremely fortunate.
Unfortunately there are those ‘pillars of society’ that are parents that feel that whatever they want to yell at any of the children is appropriate. For example, the first game of the weekend this was yelled, “Come on (insert team name) You look like you’re playing patty-cake.” Followed by an undirected, “Wimp.” I couldn’t figure out who this woman was calling a wimp as the team was actually playing pretty well despite the weather and injuries. There were continued slews of insults that I hope that the wind prevented the kids from hearing. Second game was full of negativity and I thought, “She’s just having a bad day.” Honestly, I told my husband that I really enjoy the couple when they sit on the other side of the field. Perhaps that was negative and uncalled for but it was the truth.
Saturday’s game was no different. But this time a parent actually asked the couple to be nice. Of course, they reacted as if someone has attacked them and spoke and behave extremely rude. It would be really different if some of the comments made sense. It’s as if they know nothing of the game and just want to score. There’s much that goes into moving that ball to the hoop or goal….and those negative comments that are thrown out do more damage than good.
My expectation of people because of their position in the community was entirely crushed. Negativity breeds negativity no matter how pretty one is or how big of a following someone has. I’ve perseverated on these behaviors, reflected on my own, and also mentally kicked myself for not saying something when the word “Wimp” was said…It’s up to us all to ensure that all children aren’t being mistreated or bullied—especially by ‘adults.’