What a disturbing story. Parents brawl while injured player lays on the field. It happened this fall in Washington State. Presumably the parent who started the fight was the one whose student was laying injured on the field. Sports injury are no fun. But not nearly as ‘unfun’ as fighting in the grandstands at a youth game. Activities like this give “spectatoring” a bad name. Others have labeled such actions “parental involvement in youth sports.” But that just soft-soaps the word “involvement.” Parental Grandstand fights could better be called “Parental interference in youth sports” Frankly, I have a hunch the offending parent may have shown his hand earlier than at this specific late season game. One commentator suggested banning the family from the league. Clean, effective, a little more low-key and focused.
Here’s a better idea: Nip the bad behavior in the bud, early on. Families that exercise bad sportsmanship, bad spectatorship, etc, etc, should be removed from the roster immediately. They don’t play any more. Put this policy in place from the get-go; Long before the season even begins. Get everyone to sign off on it, and understand that playing on the team is a privilege.
If more teams adopted a code like that, then the league would not have to be so heavy handed. So, as I see it, a league level decision to ban the whole team from the play-offs can be bull horn broadcasted as a cautionary tale to the rest of the world. “Watch the game, and watch yourself!”
Grandstand fights may stem from some kind of misguided “sense of parental pride in a job well done,” but when the “chickens come home to roost,” is it really in the child’s best interests to see their parents as some kind of a rock ’em, sock ’em Godzilla out to pave the way for junior’s primrose trail to the Superbowl? I think not and the sooner that lesson is learned, the better for everyone.
Call it entitlement, call it one-up-man ship or trigger finger. Have I slowed down in my decaffeinated days or have I become more perceptive? It seems people have become increasingly ready to take offense. Perhaps some fiend has sprinkled hot lava on the various phonemes and mouthings that we utter in order to communicate. Words should not be near as inflammatory as it would appear they have become.
Case in point. Recently I saw an erstwhile minister on youtube working his flock into a lather. “Let’s teach our children to text their representatives, jam their switchboards, vote the legislation down. No mention was made of any specific legislation. Perhaps it was discussed off camera. The image though of all of these crazed youths, he even went so far as to suggest they weren’t even yet of voting age, to vote the legislation down. Tweet them, text them, harangue the legislators, it all appeared to be quite hateful, hurtful and the crowd loved it.
Now I’m all in favor of difference of opinion. As an author, I realize the essence of story is conflict. As a member of society, I must admit my own life would probably be too dull to be good story material. That’s why I like fiction. I can create a world filled with conflict where my team wins.
So far as real life is concerned; discussion, pros and cons, problem/solution; these are dynamics I can understand. However, when we get to a point where we are encouraging impressionable youth to view their legislators as hideous cave-dwellers out to suck the life out of society, as archfiends who live in some murky proximity of a video game, and they can be ponged with a text message, I’ve got to say ‘Whoa, what’s going on here?’
I am reminded of my own days in the insurance business where the salesmen were to sell insurance and as a salesman; it was our job to ‘hoodwink’ the underwriters. By the by, whatever happened to my old boss who told me this? I remember one case in particular. The company was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. There was a moral risk. My handler, excuse me, manager advised me to go ahead and submit the case anyway. He said “What the underwriter doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” Silly me, but why would anyone want to insure a business about to declare bankruptcy? The claims began coming in shortly after the case was written.
Now, at that point, if ever there was a case for competition, wouldn’t this plum have sat much better in some other insurer’s portfolio? Please don’t call me heartless for having no compassion for folks down on their luck. Believe me, this retailer was no saint.
We tend to gloss over such irregularities in the force-field that surrounds the society in which we live and move and have our being. Nostalgia can be most infectious in this regard. When it comes to disparate groups of people getting along, I am reminded of Aunt Eller’s philosophy in Oklahoma She sings “The farmer and the cowman should be friends.” A key phrase in this song goes “I’m no better than anybody else/But I’ll be damned if I ain’t just as good.”
Now here is a philosophy with some real legs. This is the stance we can all take and society would be the better for it. Take our work seriously, but our own self-importance with a grain of salt. Not to be pushed around, but to be heard. There is a simple test that we should all be training ourselves and those we come in contact with, the next time we encounter a so-called commentator, a so-called friend, or even someone in the street driving a supercharged red pickup with lifters- Does the encounter cause the hair on the back of my neck to stand up? Can I defuse? Please remember to breathe. Remember, the farmer and the cowman should be friends. This too, will pass. Halleleuh.