There’s at least one at every kids’ sporting event. The Sports Parent who can’t contain himself. He couldn’t sit and enjoy the game quietly if you gave him a stack of hot dogs to fill his pie hole.
Sometimes he’s on your kid’s team. Sometimes he’s on the opponent’s team. And sometimes both teams are lucky enough to have their very own Sports Parent mascot.
Sports Parent Mascot?
(OK. I’m about to share some inside information with you. The idea to call these parents “mascots” just popped into my head as I was writing this post. It wasn’t originally part of the plan, but I think it fits. Agree?) Think about it. They’re loud, often obnoxious. They provide amusement to us level-headed Sports Parents. They’re over the top. They do embarrassing things. They get other fans riled up. They annoy coaches and umpires. The only thing they don’t do is pose for pictures with little kids and shoot t-shirts out of air cannons into the crowd. And much like team mascots are representatives of an entire team, unfortunately, annoying and mouthy Sports Parents are representatives of all the parents on a team.
From my experiences on the sidelines and in the stands at my boys’ games, I’ve come up with a list of the 8 Most Annoying Sports Parents. Please let me know if you’ve come across other varieties.
- The Voice Command Parent
This parent thinks he has to control every movement his son makes. It’s as if he thinks his son is a robot that functions on voice commands. I’m sure you’ve heard this guy before. “Stop kicking dirt!” “Watch the batter!” “Touch the base!” “Pay attention!” “Put your hat back on!” “Don’t do that with your glove!” “Go to second, go to second!” “Slide!” “That’s your ball!” “You’re too close to the base, scoot over a few steps.”
Ugh! It’s exhausting just listening to this parent. Which is why his kid simply blocks him out. Wish I could do the same.
- The Positive Cheer Leader
I hate stereotypes, but in my experiences, this parent is usually a Sports Mom. She’s so fearful of her son’s confidence being damaged by a ball he missed or a goal he allowed that she showers him with praise the entire game. Her favorite phrases are: “That’s OK, good try!” “You’ll get ’em next time buddy!” and “Great job!”
I’m all for keeping things positive for your kids, but there’s just no need to have a positive remark ready to go every time your son is involved with a play.
- The Ultra Competitive Guy
Like most Sports Dads, this guy means well. He’s usually a pretty good athlete himself. He wants his son to succeed so much that he just can’t control himself. He doesn’t shout most of his comments. For the most part he’s just thinking out loud and it’s only audible for the people around him. Things like, “C’mon go to the ball.” “Hustle!” “Pass it!” “Shoot!” “Go to the goal!” “Follow your shot!” “Adam that’s your ball!”
This dad is a good guy and fun to talk sports with. He may even be one of your buddies. This Sports Dad is the kind I can be influenced by if I’m not careful. Being a competitive guy myself, it doesn’t take much to get me excited about a game. Hearing this dad’s excitement and intensity sucks me into the competition even more. I just have to remind myself that it’s not about me. No matter how excited I get or how much I yell, it’s not going to effect the outcome of the game or how my son plays.
- The Loud Cheerer
This Sports Parent doesn’t just yell for his own kid. He spreads the cheering around to every player. It’s not so much what this Sports Parent says, it’s how loud he says it. Everything is amplified. Every play is cause for a loud, booming compliment. You don’t want to be next to this guy without some aspirin or noise-cancelling headphones.
- The Blamer
In the eyes of this parent, it’s everyone else’s fault if his son doesn’t succeed. He can’t accept the fact that his son won’t actually bat.1000, or score a goal on every shot or make every lay-up he attempts. No, this dad has to blame every other factor possible.
“That was a ball!” “His coach has been messing with his shot lately. See what happens? He screwed him up.” “C’mon, that’s a foul!”
- The Insulter
This is the Sports Parent I simply don’t understand at all. While I can usually sense that, deep down, other over-the-top parents generally mean well…this kind of parent is just mean. He makes fun of his own son. Even when his son makes a good play this dad will say stuff like, “Hey, it’s better to be lucky than good.” This is the absolute worst parent to sit next to. He makes the entire game uncomfortable. You end up feeling so bad for his son that it’s depressing. If he makes these kind of comments in public, who knows the insults he tosses around at home.
- The Tailgaters
This is a group of Sports Parents who confuse their sons’ sporting events for their college football tailgating days. They usually stand off to the side of the bleachers with a concession stand beer in hand. Some of the dads will make fun of other kids on the field. Each one trying to make a funnier comment than the next. Some of them don’t even pay attention to the game. Their son’s game is merely an excuse to hang out and socialize with friends.
- The Guy You’d Like To Punch
This is usually a parent from the opposing team. He shouts insults and passive aggressive comments at the players, coaches and parents on your kid’s team. He says stuff like, “C’mon Johnny. You can rip this kid. He’s throwing batting practice.” “Your little sister swings harder than this kid. Strike him out!” Or, “Oh, yeah…there’s a class move. Teach your kids to take second base when you’re already up by 10 runs. Good job coach.”
Don’t Let Them Suck You In
It’s one thing when bad Sports Parents embarrass themselves and their son. But quite often they influence otherwise good Sports Parents, bringing them to the dark side. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. I’ve found myself being sucked into their actions, too. One minute I’m enjoying the game. The next I’m all worked up and shouting out instructions to my son. Luckily, if I don’t reel myself in first, my wife will give me a swift and sharp elbow to the ribs. (Thanks honey!)
#8 on the list, (aka “The Guy You’d Like To Punch”), is the one who tends to get otherwise mild-mannered Sports Parents fired up the most. Why? Because this guy is a jackass. Just remember, nothing good ever comes from shouting back at this guy. He’s not going to shut up. In fact, he’ll only get more obnoxious. And let’s face it, if you get into a shouting match at your son’s game. Who’s that really going to affect? Here’s a hint…it’s not the jackass. Take the high road and continue setting a good example for your son.