The Award To The Most Negative Sideline Parent Goes To…

negative sideline parent
Photo by Richard Boyle on Unsplash
Want to see a bunch of parents get worked up? Put their kids on the field or court and they turn into crazy people.

It’s funny how we invest so much time and money to stand out in the frigid cold supporting teams of people we don’t know throw a ball around. It doesn’t matter who plays as long as “our team” wins. But when it comes to our own kids, we, as parents, complain that they don’t get to play enough and that it’s not about winning. Negativity fills the air after we’ve sat outside in the cold and have only seen our kid play a couple times.

Check Your Negative Attitude At The Gate

As my children get older and sports become more competitive, it’s given me the opportunity to observe behaviors of parents. One of my son’s made the All-Star Football team this season. He was so honored to be asked to join this elite team. And I was thrilled for him. It gave him the chance to play with different kids at a higher level.

He and I were both aware at the start that he might not get a ton of playing time during the tournament weekend. I asked him how he felt about that and he still wanted to be a part of the team.

Sure, I would like to see my kid play more, but it’s not about me. My kid inspires me because between the two of us, we came up with all the positives:

  • An invitation to join the All Star team was extended to him.
  • He gets to attend all practices and train as if he’s the star.
  • When he does go out, he’s fresh and could get that clinch play to change the course of the game.
  • He’s having fun out there. And that’s where parents forget. Their kid probably doesn’t care how much he plays as long as he’s having a good time.
  • There is a sense of camaraderie when you are part of a team and you cheer them on no matter what.

Take A Breath, Mama Bear

With all the pressure out there to be the best, parents get all worked up. They threaten to pull their kids from games because things aren’t fair. I get that they are little but you are already demonstrating that things should be handed to them on a silver platter. It’s allowing them to see that they don’t have to work hard. They will always get a place in the spotlight. Is that how the real world works? Not one bit. But I get it.

Of course, you want to rally for your kid but what good is all that complaining about the system doing?  As a parent it tugs on my heart strings to watch my kid only play a couple minutes of a game. My mama bear instinct wants to run out to the field and rip the coach a new one but I know that is only satisfying my needs. Instead, I see what my son’s feelings are about the whole situation without putting my opinions on him.

At times, I could feel my blood pressure rising overhearing conversations of complaint about things happening on the field. While, I would like to see my kid get more playing time, it’s the memories of the big plays he pulls out that will stick with him. During one game, my son sacked the quarterback and afterwards he gave me a play by play of exactly what happened leading up to that moment.

Live Vicariously Through Their Memories

The next morning he told me how happy he was to play on this team. This is the stuff he is going to remember next year. Not how much time he played. It also gives him a chance to learn from his teammates and see what he needs to do to improve for the following season.

“Harold Ramis, the actor and director most famous to people of my generation for his role as Egon in the movie Ghostbusters, once laid out his rule for success: “Find the most talented person in the room, and if it’s not you, go stand next to him. Hang out with him. Try to be helpful.” Ramis was lucky: the most talented person in the room was his friend Bill Murray.

If you ever find that you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.”

– Austin Kleon

At the end of their last game, his coach reminded them that this is just one loss. What matters is that you continue to get 2% better each day. There are so many more games to be played and although they lost, they left their hearts on the field. To my son, this resonates with him.

As we were walking back to the car, the first thing he said to me was: “It’s all good mom, I’ll be back next year!”


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