There has been a lot said and written about terrible youth sports parents. Recently, former NBA player Matt Barnes allegedly told a high schooler that he would „beat him up“ during a game between Harvard-Westlake and Crespi Carmelite High School, where the son of the small forward plays.
Unfortunately, in my home state of New Jersey, one of the RHONJ husbands was kicked out of his son’s wrestling match and got into an argument with the referee afterward.
But it gets worse when a youth soccer coach in St. Louis is shot by an angry parent over their child’s playing time.
Stephen Borelli, a sports editor at USA Today, wrote an article about overzealous sports parents in October, headlined „Out-of-control sports parents leave officials feeling unsafe.“ The following is at risk.
„I’m a CHILD,“ read a sign I encountered at a youth baseball tournament several years ago. „My coach is a VOLUNTEER… The officials are HUMAN… NO college scholarships are being handed out today.“
Against this background, my ex-wife has enrolled our son to play basketball this winter. He is in the second grade. Last year, in our city, there was only a clinic, but this year, the kids could participate in „competitive“ league games.
But the turnout wasn’t great. There were just enough kids to form three teams, and these teams would have to play against each other twice a week.
There was also a shortage of coaches, which prompted my ex to volunteer. Since I would already be at all the games and had coached my son in other sports, I decided to pitch in as well.
Just to remind you, we’re talking about second-grade basketball here. These kids are 7 and 8 years old. It’s generous to say that they are still learning the basics.
It’s painful to watch, let alone coach. Low-scoring games (How about a 4:4 tie?) Little to no defense. Shots fired from all distances, many of which barely reach the rim. Kids swarming anyone with the ball – sometimes even their own teammates. They have lost sense of hearing. And, of course, all the double dribbles, traveling, and other minor infractions.
But that’s to be expected. And that’s really half the fun. If the referee – usually a high schooler – calls everything, then these 20-minute games last an eternity. Some leniency is warranted, as this is the first time these kids are playing organized basketball.
But don’t say that to that one coach on the sidelines. He’s on the court, almost disrupting the game, yelling at the young referee.
„How could he not call that?“
„Double dribble! Double dribble!“
„That’s a reach! That’s a reach!“
No, sorry buddy, they’re tired of your crap – you’ve been doing this all season.
Meanwhile, all the other coaches – whose kids are also on their respective teams – encourage the players or remind them to raise their hands on defense. And in general, they let their kids enjoy the level of athleticism they’re capable of in the name of good cardiovascular activity.
On the other hand, this is the same guy who texted me during flag football games, asking why his son isn’t getting more carries.
As for the father who made a scene at every one of our games, who happens to be a cop, and thought he would smooth things over by… presenting a PBA card to the teenager running the scoreboard.