Let’s be honest. You think you’re great. Walking up and down the sideline, cutting in front of other parents trying to enjoy watching a game their kid loves. You’re telling your kid to be more aggressive. Get out there and cover him, you say. Attack him, you say. All the while telling yourself that you’re just trying to help. That you’re trying to help make little Tommy, or Sally or whatever the hell you named your kid a better player.
But if we continue being honest, everything you’re yelling is the complete opposite of what the coach just told them in the huddle. The coaches want the kids to “stay home” and not over-commit. They don’t want the kids being too aggressive and making silly checks.
And since honesty has been our thing so far here, the reality is, you my friend are a huge douche nozzle. I know it. The lady over there trying to see around you sure as hell knows it. As do the 50 or so other fans scattered up and down the sideline, who you’ve totally disregarded as you pace up and down the sideline oblivious there are others gracing your presence.
AND I HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN TO YOUR KID YET! Your kid is mortified. He/She won’t say anything to you, either out of fear of upsetting you or hurting your feelings because they know how much time “you” devote to their favorite sport. They know how much you’ve spent on their equipment, travel teams and so on. So they are susceptible to being quiet on the topic of you shouting at them all game long. After all, you’ve drilled it into their brain that you are just trying to help.
But they know what coach just said. EVEN WORSE, they know if they don’t appease you in some manner, your idiot mouth is going to keep running, and running, and shouting, and yelling, and generally making a fool of your idiot face.
Your poor kid is trying to focus on what is in FRONT of them, and they can’t do that while you’re constantly yelling counterproductive crap at them from the SIDE.
Your kid’s opponent asks them, is that your dad? And your poor kid has to answer yes. Sometimes after acknowledging the psycho on the sidelines is their father (or mother) they will find a sympathetic player who has lived the same experience. But other times, your kid will face ridicule and will actually get picked on and bullied while on the field because of your moronic behavior.
What you don’t realize, is however well-intentioned you are, you are a huge hindrance to your child’s development. Their coaches are there to instruct and teach them the game while ON THE FIELD.
OFF THE FIELD, You can do all you want, but while at practice, or during a game, your job is to enjoy and encourage. To cheer and to hold up in victory or defeat. To pay close attention to every detail of the game so that if you really want to help, you can intelligently discuss and instruct POST-game. You can discuss what your kid did well, you can ask them what they think they need to work on and so on.
And who the hell am I to judge? Why am I qualified to tell you how it is? Because I have coached 5 years of youth lacrosse and travel lacrosse, 4 years of high school lacrosse and 6 years of college lacrosse. I have officiated 3 years of summer and winter leagues and have been an actual paid official at the modified through varsity level the past two seasons. I played this game I love from the time I was in 5th grade all the way up into my mid 30’s.
I am quite literally one of the MOST QUALIFIED PEOPLE ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET EARTH TO CALL YOU OUT ON THIS BEHAVIOR. I have experienced parents and fans from all sides of the ball. I’ve been a player that endured the heckling of a couple of these types of dads and I wasn’t even their kid. I’ve been a fan/relative of players and have sat in the stands with people like you. I have been the coach of the player you were instructing to do the opposite of what I just told him to do. I have been an official that has taken your abuse, and in almost every case, your argument was just plain wrong and was borderline gibberish.
But my biggest qualification for being the the right guy to call you out for your behavior is this… As a coach, post-game, in the locker room, I witnessed a kid address the entire team to apologize for the behavior of his father. And I saw how he tried to use humor to cover his shame. Shame over something he had no control over, and that in reality had nothing to do with him.
So while at the game, please, oh please, I beg you to take a good look at yourself. Take a look around and realize that there are only 4 or 5 of you at this entire game. The rest of us just want to enjoy it, and you’re not only ruining the experience for us, but you’re ruining the experience for your own damn kid.
AND PLEASE, to the 97% of parents out there that don’t fall into this category, take no offence. I know we all fall victim to some douche nozzlery here and there. We can’t help it. Yes, we will yell at a ref (I’ve been both the yeller, and the yelled at). We’ll question a coach’s decision. We’ll get down on a kid despite the fact in hindsight, that’s stupid. I’m not talking to you. We all fall victim to our lesser selves from time to time. This is directed at those 2 or 3 parents at every game that make us all look like saints.