Tuesday, March 27, 2007

On Being an Athletic Supporter

I'm not, and have never been, an athlete. I was the only girl who didn't do gymnastics in elementary school. I once got socked in the head with a softball when my sister Erin and my dad were practicing; I was sitting in the grass reading a little Nancy Drew at the time. In high school, I sprained my ankle not on the balance beam, but near it.

So when Caleb first started Little League, I didn't know what to expect. Because in addition to the sensitive, the athletic are another category of folk that I'm not sure I know how to handle. And I certainly didn't know what to make of the parents of the athletic. There's a certain reputation that you may be familiar with.

Last night Brandon took Caleb to his first practice of this season, and he reported that it seems as if we got a good team. Meaning, none of the following*:

-The Vaguely Scary Dad: Quietly berates his child and thinks no one can hear him when he's berating the other children under his breath. Always brings his large dog (that you have to suspect is somehow compensatory) and scares the younger siblings of the players with it.

-The Bossy Parent: Cheerful, but you damn well better remember to bring snack when it's your turn. Because she's reminded you thirty times already.

-The Old Hat: She has a hundred children, and #98 is on the team. She is neither surprised nor delighted by any turn of event because she's been witness to EVERYTHING, sister. Also, she calls bases "bags."

-The Very Important Parent: Don't interrupt. He's in the middle of Having It All.

-The Amnesiac: You meet her at every single school and extra-curricular function. And every single time, she has no idea who you are.

I think it'll be a good spring in the stands.

*With apologies to Tracy Sutton, of "Playdate Mommies from Hell."


Anonymous said...

We can't forget the parent who travels to the ends of the earth to purchase the most expensive gear and then sets the benchmark for what the other kids should have....That'll be the last time I buy $250 cleats!


On the opposite side, the parents who never show up to any practices or games, allows the kid to come all by himself and shows no interest whatsoever. Sad.


Jennifer said...

I KNEW you'd have more categories!

Heather Annastasia said...

Oh man, don't get me started on organized sports. I was never in sports, but I was the only girl in my entire extended family, so I was a bit of a tom-boy. There were boys in my neighborhood who refused to play football with me because they couldn't stand the humiliation of being tackled (and brought to tears) by a girl.

But I digress.

I got my twins in peewee football. It was a competitive team, so they didn't play in a game at all the first year; they were 6, and didn't really know what they were doing. We were a bit ostracized also; it was a conservative Ohio bunch and we had anti-Bush bumper stickers before it was cool.

The second year the boys were trying really hard and doing well in practice, but they rarely got to play and were always being singled out for reprimands. One day, the wife of the head coach is running at me screaming, "You better get your G-- D--- kid!" Then she runs up to my son Connor (who was peeing on a tree with her son) and starts screaming at him.

My son has a narrow urethra and can't pee in a straight line to save his soul. If he had had more common sense than a seven-year-old, he would have known better than to pee while standing next to someone. Apparently, my son's stream of urine got on her son, but no one noticed except her. The two boys in question didn't even notice.

So she's screaming at my son and telling him he's kicked off the team as she's dragging her son away by the arm, and that was all I could take. My son needs to know that I will stand toe-to-toe with a woman a foot taller than me and built like a football player to defend him, and that's what I did. Luckily it didn't come to blows because I'm quite sure I would have been on the losing end of that one.

Now the boys are in the San Diego Children's Choir, and let me tell you, it is just wonderful.