Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sins Of The Fathers

Yesterday was the last day of our basketball season.  During our scrimmage, the father of a child on my team gave me grief for "going too easy on" (as he put it) his five year-old son because I cut him some slack.  Kid needs to toughen up, I was told.

Later on, Thing One had a basketball game.  We happened to be seated near the dad of one of the kids on the other team, a handsome, clean-cut boy of perhaps 11 or 12.  Taller than average, a better player than average, but at least at this point, not in any way, say, the next Michael Jordan.  Probably not even the best player on his team that day.  His dad directed him from our sideline the entire game, never mind the instructions from the *actual* coach on the other sideline.  Do this.  Do that.  Give him space.  Get the rebound.  Take the shot.  Dad played some ball himself way back when, I'm told.  Big guy, big deep voice.  A couple of the kid's mistakes had him pounding one fist into the other palm in frustration.  Crossed my mind a time or two that maybe I wouldn't mind so much if their team won the game: might make this kid's car ride home a little more bearable.  May I also state for the record that this was a rec-league game????

I've written here on more than a few occasions about the batshit crazy dads whose sons play on the A team for travel soccer at Thing One's level.  Not all of the dads are like that, to be fair, only three or four, but those few are poisonous.  I am beyond grateful that Thing One keeps landing at the top of the B team.  Most of these guys played themselves too, I gather.  Way to live out your own dreams through your kid, or feed your ego through your kid, or whatever the hell it is you're doing.  Great example you're setting there.

It must be a father-son thing: I've been watching kids play soccer, baseball and basketball at one level or another for over seven years now, and I have yet to encounter a father/coach who is not harder on his own son than anyone else on the field, including my own husband.  (For all I know my dad was harder on my brother than anyone else too, but at least he didn't coach anything!)  Oddly, the same dynamic does not appear to play out often between fathers and daughters or mothers and daughters, at least that I've seen.      

Yeah, I played some basketball myself, too.  When I watch Thing One play, there are things I want to say.  I spend a good bit of time with my fist firmly planted across my lips, trying to remember that it ain't my show and I'm only there as a cheerleader.  Sometimes I forget, truthfully, but I really am trying to shut up.  Himself prefers to watch soccer games from several fields away for the same reason: that way the kids can't hear anything he says.  

Petunia tested for her Senior Yellow belt last week, and she absolutely kicked butt.  One fierce little pigtailed ninja-in-training!

Note the yellow hairbands on her pigtails??  Her new belt is yellow with a black satin stripe down the middle, and of course we had to paint her nails to match it before her belt test just like I do with my own!  (Yes, it's an odd look, but that's how we roll.)

I watched her entire test.  I cheered and clapped when it was appropriate, but that was it.  It would NEVER have occurred to me to yell from the sidelines, telling her what to do during her test (I was thinking about this during Thing One's basketball game.)  If I had, I would have been asked to leave immediately, without question!  And that would have been a good thing.  Maybe we need dojo rules at the basketball court.

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