Thursday, 31 May 2012

4 Better Ways to Support Your Kids at Their Games

ByKevin Dt McDonnell

As my daughter Amy advances through her high school fast pitch softball career, I have found that the players are not only on different levels of skill, but the views the parents have, can be significantly different as well. As a former ball player who made it as far as college, played softball for years, served as an umpire for a year and even did some coaching, I find what happens off the field sometimes harder to deal with. We all have our stories, but just like we monitor and learn on the field, we have to sometimes monitor ourselves as well.

The first thing I noticed is really simple. As bad as an umpire may be, getting on his case never benefits the team, the speed of the game, or him improving his skill set. Through the course of a season, we usually come across that guy who, for whatever reason, wants to be the center of attention, and actually seems to seek out a confrontation. Luckily we can cheer or boo, then let the coach deal with it.

The second thing we can do is actually cheer and root for other parents' kids. We all want our kid to be the next franchise player but face it, most of them will never have the tools, put in the time, or even care enough to get to that point. If your child isn't the clean up hitter, hope that kid does do well. I actually was watching my kids J.V. game and as the varsity played on the field next to ours, a mother approached me. She pointed to the varsity outfielder and told me she hoped that kid would miss a ball and lose the game for the varsity so that maybe her kid could come up and play there. Meanwhile her kid struck out 3 times on the J.V. field. I would rather earn the position then be the better bad player. That also spoke volumes for the mother.

Grow up! Being a guy, I have recently found that the ladies are vicious sometimes. Amy seems to get along with most of the girls, however, two of the girls recently had an issue in the locker room, and now one has a cast on her hand and is out for the year. Some of the moms are worse! Every so often you come across a girl who might grunt or a team with a cheer that may push your buttons. When a mom on your side starts to make that noise or mocks the cheer it sounds so much worse. Don't do it! The other team may get under your skin, but you may be driving your own team and their fans nuts. We work our jobs all day working with others, but at night and on weekends, we can't turn into animals. Behave. I myself have never encountered anyone with an alcohol problem at a game, but this also needs to be monitored by yourself as well.

The last point is just to simply stay positive and have fun. If you get home after the game and your spouse is talking about you instead of the game, view your approach. Even with your back round as a former athlete, whatever the level, sometimes we may not be the best teachers, or our points may not translate to our kids. It's incredible how we lose ourselves and at the end of the day we feel spent because we got upset for a weird reason and didn't just enjoy the game. Good luck and have fun.

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