It never fails. There’s always one. A voice that rises above the others like a bird ruining a night’s perfectly sweet slumber.
Show me a field, arena or court featuring prep sports and I will show you a “fan” who believes the louder they are, the more reasonable they sound. The sad thing is the worst of these “fans” are not the teenagers in the student section — who have puberty as a perfect excuse to be obnoxious, but choose to be hilariously entertaining instead — but rather the so-called “adults” in the stands who are supposed to be supporting the athletes.
I’ve seen kids have to hold their parents back from trying to fight coaches. I’ve seen refs followed to their cars by people who are supposed to be role models. I’ve been on the field and seen athletes’ heads weighed down by embarrassment.
To the shouters, yellers, complainers and whiners, as someone who is on the court, let me be the first to burst your bubble and inform you that refs can’t understand what you’re saying from up there and coaches ignore your demands. The only ones who hear exactly what you’re saying are the ones who could recognize your voice in a sea of millions: the kids playing.
Perhaps if you weren’t too busy yelling at coaches or referees, you’d notice the players shaking their heads in embarrassment.
Let me save you some time. No, I’m not telling you how to raise your kids. No, I don’t have kids of my own. Yes, I’ve attended prep games featuring people I dearly love. Yes, I’ve seen incorrect calls or suspicious coaching calls. No, I’ve never felt the need to yell from the stands at a referee or coach. I feel bad enough having the job of interviewing high school coaches after a loss.
There’s nothing easier than yelling about something you don’t fully understand. A coach knows his or her team better than you do. Just as you are too far away in the stands for a referee to hear exactly what you said, you are too far away to see what a referee sees.
We tell these kids to have fun and remind them it’s just a game, but then we act as though there is nothing more important?
Either pick up a clipboard or a whistle or sit down and cheer for your team. Then, win or lose, you tell whatever athlete you came to see how well they did.
The life of an athlete is a road of letdowns with the occasional heavenly spotlight. The last thing they need letting them down are relatives in the stands.
While they are on the court, let’s allow the players to be the main attraction.