I have been attending sporting events for decades! Yes, I said decades. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was a cheerleader. This fact horrifies my children, but way back then, there wasn’t much else for girls with respect to athletics. Interscholastic sports for girls was just taking off. But anyway, I attended every sporting event as a middle school and high school cheerleader. With my brother in sports, I watched as many of his events as I could.
With seven kids, one can only imagine how many events I attended. I never really counted them, and maybe that is a good thing. The gang participated in running sports, football, and basketball. Of course there were also dance recitals and choral concerts and plays and banquets.
I just may have the worst case of Bleacher Butt known to mankind. Needless to say, I have spent many hours in stadiums and gymnasiums. Some of the venues have been smaller than others, but all have been a decent size. Plenty of room to sit.
However, I am that guy (or girl as the case may be). I am the one that the crazy and/or obnoxious person always sits by. The kids all marvel at the magnetism that I have. I get to be next to the crazed father who screams at the referees every insult that he can think of. For being blind, deaf and dumb, I think they do a decent job. Does this man really think that these insults will actually win over the referee and make him sympathetic to our team?
Then there is the mom, whose son is an all-star athlete, and she cannot figure out why her darling is not the star of the team! This mom tends to focus her attention on her child’s coach and his or her staff. Clearly they are inept and inadequate at their job and she does not hesitate to tell them. Atta girl mom! That is sure to help. How about teaching a class in sportsmanship?
And then there are the fans who turn on their own team. They scream horrible things at their children and everyone else’s too. The young men and women competing are stupid, useless, worthless and untalented. Without these fans, the rest of us couldn’t figure out how badly our kids wanted to lose. I will admit to screaming at my daughter once, but only because she asked me too. She said it motivated her. So when she ran by me I told her that her grandmother could move faster than that. I then apologized and explained why I said that to everyone in earshot.
College sports can be worse. Alcohol is often involved. I remember sitting next to an extremely intoxicated woman at a college football game. She was the girlfriend of one of the players’ fathers. She complained about the lack of space between fans throughout the entire game! She loudly complained about the lady sitting near her who was overweight and shouting that she should have paid for two seats. She complained about people rubbing against her and that she was just the “rubber of the row”. My kids cannot believe I kept quiet, and neither can I. If anyone deserved to be put in her place it was her.
As the kids have progressed and most are now the fans watching “The Surprise” play collegiate football, they are now experiencing what I have lived through for years. They are shocked at what they see and hear. They are also shocked at how all of these people manage to sit next to me, even when the stadium is only half full.
And then they thank me…. For not being that parent. Enjoy your child’s foray into sports. Let them enjoy it too. They will learn lessons, but what kind can be up to you.
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!