It’s that time of year…youth sports seasons are about to begin. In our family, we will play U12 girls’ soccer, U10 baseball, and t-ball. My daughter also dances ballet, but that is an entirely different subject! We have been doing the “sport thing” since our oldest was three years old. We were those doe-eyed parents, new to the youth sporting world. We just knew our baby girl would be the next Mia Hamm or Brandi Chastain. Turns out, she was more interested in running around with her friend, discussing the latest happenings in preschool.
As our babies have grown, we have realized that no sport parent is the same. Sometimes, a season is easy. The parents are all pretty easy going. The kids all get along. And then there are the “other” seasons. The ones that we would like to forget. The teams that we wish we could erase from our memories.
Here is a list of parents that we have met throughout the past 8 years of team sports:
* The Newbie: no need for much explanation here. This parent has no idea what she is in for. She thinks that sports are all fun and no one ever cries. She believes that each child will be treated fairly and that the season will be full of sunshine and rainbows. Although I am not technically a newbie, I like to begin each season as one.
* The Casual Observer: this type of parent is content to sit and watch. They cheer (quietly) for the team and for their own child. They don’t care whether the team wins or loses, just that everything is copasetic. This parent doesn’t usually reach out to other parents. He keeps to himself, generally sitting far away from other parents.
* The Wannabe Coach: the wannabe wants to take the coach’s place. He usually knows enough about the game to be dangerous and may confuse the players, which can result in mistakes on the field. The wannabe may also be reprimanded by the referee or umpire. One season, we witnessed an almost fight break out between a real coach and a wannabe coach. Did we laugh? Heck yeah, we did!
* The Rabid Dog: this sport parent is frightening. Think Cujo. She scares the kids, the other parents, and even the coaches. We had our fill of this type of parent one season. It’s bad. The rabid parent is kind of like the class bully. She constantly offends you, but you don’t say anything because you don’t want her to attack you (or even worse, your child). She is usually very loud and is known to yell at the players. Stay far, far away from this one. You know what they say about the company you keep…
* The Supportive Friend: this parent is just as it sounds: she is supportive, without being overbearing. She is friends with all of the parents and cheers for each of the players. I will admit that I see this parent least often. She is very hard to spot, probably because she is so modest. But she is always a breath of fresh air in the smelly business of youth sports.
* The Pushy Parent: you know the one, the parent who knows that his child is the most athletic, fastest, strongest, and overall best player on the team? This parent is positive that his child will play professionally and wants to makes sure that the coach is aware of this fact. The pushy parent is generally in each of the huddles and wants to make sure that his child plays the position that will rocket her into the pros.
* The Reluctant Participant: this parent just doesn’t want to be there. Plain and simple. She is not a sports fan, but wants to indulge her child, so she sits through the pain of watching a game. The reluctant parent will usually be seen by herself. After all, why try to make friends with people with whom you have nothing in common?
* The Enthusiastic Cheerleader: without cheerleaders, sports would be boring, right? *side note: I am a bit biased here as I was a cheerleader in my younger years* The enthusiastic parent is always busy rooting for the team. She is friendly, outgoing, and loud. You will have no problem picking her out of the crowd as she will usually be the one who stands up each time the team has success. Did I mention that she is also loud?
So there you have it. The sport parents that my husband and I have observed over the past few years. I admit that I am probably a bit of each of these. I think I have taken the good and the bad from other parents in order to make my own brand of sport parent. I just hope that as our children continue on their journeys of youth sports, they realize that we love them and are proud of them for always doing their best.
And I hope that neither my husband nor myself are not almost part of a fight during a youth sporting event.
Can you identify with a parent on this list? Can you think of any other types of sport parents that I have left off of the list?
*Special thanks to my daughter, who helped me think of different types of sport parents. She has seen each of them at work.by