Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer = Psycho Parents

Happy summer...and in towns and suburbs all across America, summer means hundreds of thousands of kids playing baseball, soccer, and other sports. And accompanying these children are their parents.

Normally even-keeled adults take to the field and suddenly transform into crazy, angry, abusive parents. They'll fight with other moms and dads, the referees, the coaches, and even with the kids.

What is the cause of this nasty phenomenon?

Ph.D student Jay Goldstein of the University of Maryland School of Public Health decided to find out why. He surveyed and observed over 340 parents during youth soccer games in suburban Washington D.C. What he concluded was that parents suffered from an affliction identical to road rage. Goldstein calls it "sideline rage."

Moms and dads most likely to lose control at a soccer game could be identified as having control-oriented personalities. “When they perceived something that happened during the game to be personally directed at them or their child, they got angry,” reports Goldstein. “That’s consistent with findings on road rage.”

More studies need to be done in order to find out just how this kind of parental behavior affects their kids. However, I'm going to assume kids hate it, are probably embarrassed by it, and many usually repeat it with their own children.

Goldstein came up with a list of techniques to help these psycho parents from losing their cool. They consist of relaxation techniques and such. I would like to submit my own list of things for control-oriented parents to think about before watching their kids on the field:

1) Lots of sports involve physical contact. You kid will probably fall, which means your kid will probably get hurt. Get over it. You can't put your kid in a bubble. If the opponent is actively trying to trip your kid, the ref will see it. So chill.

2) The coaches are volunteers and often are your fellow parents. Leave them alone. It's a thankless job. If you're such a hotshot expert, take your kid out and coach your own team. I bet you won't find many parents bringing their kids to your Nazi boot camp. Loser.


3) Your glory days are over. Maybe you were "da shit" in your prime. Take a good look at yourself. Just because you were never on a box of Wheaties doesn't mean you can make your kid into a superstar in order to compensate for your crushed ego and personal failures. You suck.
Oh, by the way, if you tried to go out onto the field to show us how it's done, you're either going to make a total ass of yourself or suffer a massive coronary. Go sit your fat ass down and shut up. Bringing that cinnamon roll to your mouth is the closest thing you'll ever come to "bending it like Beckham."


kim said...

Hear hear. I used to ref and coach soccer and man oh man.

The one time I had to throw a parent out of a game as a ref was at a 3, 4, and 5 year old soccer game. For real. It was appalling.

the weirdgirl said...

Those parents make me scared of putting my own kid in sports. (Not that I won't, but I'm not looking forward to it.) It's like the moment those parents step onto a field their heads go up their asses.

I kind of wish that actually happened; at least then their voices would be muffled.

phred said...

All so true.
This is the first Summer my grandkids didn`t play softball.
Their parents realized - it just was not worth it.
I have seen other kids verbally abused by their parents because they struck out.

Mr. Friendly said...

As a three-time loser, I mean recreation league soccer coach for little tykes, I have yet to see the full blown a**holerama that overtakes some parents. Not that they aren't a**holes, they just haven't revealed themselves to the five/six year olds yet.

By the by, my favorite play in this league is affectionately called "The Jailbreak." Ball gets loose, our team recovers, entire team descends on ball, somehow managing to get it into the opponents goal. Sheer force of will. It is a beauty to behold.

angel, jr. said...

When I go to my nephew and niece's soccer games, I encounter all those sideline rage parents.

ObilonKenobi said...

When I watch my 5-year old play soccer, I don't get sideline rage but I do get arm chair quaterback syndrome, where I coach him from the sidelines. I did the same thing with my older son when he played football or lacrosse, yelling instructions to him on the field. Maybe I think I can verbally control his actions by yelling "run for the ball" or "look out" or "kick it!"

May be not. But it helps pass the time and makes the game fun for me too.

Jamie Dawn said...

Ha, ha!!
You've heard of Stage Moms and Stage Dads, well the psycho parents are those people.
I can remember getting riled at a few of my son's games, but I promise I didn't curse or yell or make a fool of myself... even if my kid was totally ripped off.


Haley-O said...

Haha! This is exactly what frightens me about sports. my brother used to play hockey when we were little (still does, but that's beside the point), and some of those parents were INSANE! ;)

delmer said...

I remember one day complaining about the refs and "where do they get these guys?"

Another parent pointed out they were volunteers and if he was unhappy he could volunteer. The jackass said he couldn't because he had a job (of course he was there to bitch about the game).

The other parent said the other volunteers all had jobs to and that was the end of it.

And this was 5-year old soccer.

Phats said...

This is the best post ever! haha. Being a HS coach of 2 sports I appreciate a post like this, even though it's not really summer and little kids.

Also very glad you're back, welcome back man!

The Phoenix said...

kim: Wow. That really is so sad.

WG: It's a fear of mine, but it's also a good lesson. There are assholes everywhere in life.

phred: Softball and baseball are also meccas for crazed parents. I wonder why.

mr. friendly: Reminds me of a play called "Swarm." But the ball usually doesn't move very much from all the little feet kicking it simultaneously.

angel jr: Filipino parents aren't as obvious about their anger. They'll go about it more stealthily.

obilon: That's normal. We all do it. It's the ones that cross the line that ruin it for everyone.

The Phoenix said...

JD: It's the same people! Stage moms/soccer moms. ALL kids will be subject to bad calls from the ref, so people need to chill.

haley-o: Yeah. I remember that case of the one father KILLING another father after a hockey game.

delmer: That's funny. Some people need to be put in their place. 5 yr old soccer? No wonder so many kids get burned out on it by the time they're 12.

phred: Yup - I got it too as a tennis coach, especially girls tennis. One father even went as far as to try to get me fired for benching her daughter. I benched my #1 player because she skipped practice. All the other parents supported me. I bet the dad got super pissed when we won out match without his precious daughter.

BrianAlt said...

I just send my kids to sleep away camp. Now they have to deal on their own.

kim said...

Phoenix - The parent I eventually ejected started screaming at me for not enforcing offsides rules. I explained that since the kids were 3-5 years old, the league wasn't enforcing offsides. Then he screamed at me for not knowing goaltender rules. I *was* a goaltender, I knew the rules quite well. But when your kid's literally off the field chasing a butterfly, and isn't in net, I can't call anything. He walked on to the field mid-game shouting obscenities at me and that's when I ejected him. And then I reamed him for setting a bad example. Oh, and he was an assistant coach.

mr. friendly - I LOVE watching the little kids play "bunch ball." the swarm of little kids, unsteady on their feet, running excitedly to maybe touch the ball is hilariously precious.

DaBich said...

I was involved big time in Little League years before I even had any children, because my hubby's family was in it. I remember the nut case parents who made things tough for the volunteers. I came between them and my hubby (he coached, I worked the kitchen) MANY times to keep them off his back.

Then I coached girls' softball, since I had two girls playing and finally got fed up one day, when a grandmother was screaming at me why this why that yadda yadda yadda. I walked over to her, smiled at her and said, "Any time YOU want to do this job, here you go. Until then, SHUT UP!" That was the last I heard anything from her! lol

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