Derek started his preschool Flag Football class today. He was very excited to play, and was doing a great job at participating and following directions. The class is for 3 to 6 year olds. he was the only 3 year old. But like I said, he was doing great. He definately has more athletic ability then some of the other members of our family. And he has a little more of a competitive edge as well. He was having fun, and he connected immediately with his teacher (some 20 something U of U student).
There was one little boy whose mom was on her cell phone for the first 20 min. or so of class who was simultaneously gossiping on the phone and leading her crying 5 yr. old around the gym trying to get him to participate. He clearly didn't want to be there, for whatever reason. Or maybe he just had a bad morning. At any rate, I would have handled the entire situation quite differently...but we are all different, and she is his mom. And I was content to just try to ignore the example of what I perceived to be bad parenting...And then I remembered why I hate sports.
The coaches put the little guys into two teams...green and yellow, and attached their flags. Derek was green, and they started a game of tag, with the little guys just trying to steal the other teams flags. Derek got out quickly the first game, along with a few of the other littlest guys. And he quickly learned that he could stay in longer just by trying to protect his own flags, and running from the bigger kids, instead of trying to steal their flags. The second game, he was very proud of himself for being one of the last ones out. The third game started, and Derek and 2 of the other littlest kids noticed the mom on the cell phone, and the kid crying and just standing there with his flags flapping around his legs. They all rushed the crying kid, the mom hung up her cell phone, bent down, and ripped Derek's and the other little guys flags off! I was sitting on the side, and I was a little shocked. Then Derek looked at me and started to cry. He ran off the floor, and I tried to make eye contact with the idiot who just ripped his flags off. I should have yelled at her, or done something...the coach blew a whistle to end the game. I was trying to decide if it was really a big enough deal to call the mom out and ask her what the hell she was doing?!!! Picking on a 3 year old?!!! I tried to reason with myself and tell myself it was not that big of a deal. The mom next to me asked "did she just rip his flags off?" Yes. Do I make a scene? I continued to try to make eye contact with the stupid mom. She avoided me on purpose. Derek's coach was great. Gave him extra privileges with the ball, helped him make a "touchdown", made him laugh. It is usually not the coach. It is the stupid, sickly competitive, trying to over-come my own mediocre life by living vicariously through my child morons that ruin sports for everyone. An experience that should be a fun and engaging form of exercise, a program to learn about sportsmanship and teamwork, is usually shattered by the selfish parents who are looking out only for themselves. Parents who try to elevate themselves by forcing their own childs interests on everyone else. These little guys are not even in school yet! If your kid doesn't want to play, Dont make them play! But don't take a little 3 year-old out to try to make yourself feel like you are not a crappy parent! Unfortunately, the world is full of bullies. There just always seems to be an inordinate amount in the world of childrens sports...and it is not the kids...It's the Parents!
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