The two chatted nonstop, barely letting up to watch the game. The first woman talked about her recent weekend trip with husband. The second one rambled on about how she spent her birthday and gossiped about another parent.
I tried to zone them out, but they were sitting right behind us in the bleacher. It felt like they had megaphone next to my ear, but it really didn’t matter, I could have heard them from three counties away.
I was annoyed, but I figured once the high school football game got underway, they’d get absorbed into the action. Boy, was I wrong! They took over commenting like they were Fox NFL Announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, evaluating each kid’s positives and negatives. You would’ve thought they were pro scouts the way they were going on and on about each kid on both sides of the ball and how none of them seemed to measure up to their own Jimmy or Johnny.
“Oh, how did he miss that tackle?”
“Run the ball coach. I can throw the ball farther than our quarterback.”
“Get someone else in there coach, someone who can block.”
I thought about turning around and quietly reminding the two that that they might want to keep their voices down and give the high school kids a break. I wanted to ask how they would like someone screaming from the stands down on them. I considered saying something, but I stopped short when a slow motion YouTube video appeared in my head of an imaginary melee breaking out in the stands, with the two woman and me, smack dab in the middle. Oh, just what I need.
Instead, I shook my head and settled on getting up and walking away. I didn’t need the hassle and no else seemed bothered.
I find anymore that overzealous parents take the fun of kid’s games. Football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, baseball, the sport doesn’t matter, it’s all the same. Parents at high school games have a strange habit of turning a wholesome game into something hurtful and ugly.
Instead of cheering for everyone on the team and celebrating great plays, regardless of who makes them, they criticize the coaching or officiating. Instead of encouraging good sportsmanship and fair play, they yell and criticize. They turn a fun night meant to be all about the kids into a cringe-worthy one.
Oh, most parents are fine, but I find anymore that I have little patience for fans who think they know it all, live their life vicariously through their children and their sport, and end up acting like spoiled brats.
Oh, at the end of the day, the two parents I sat in front of weren’t all that bad. I’ve heard and seen worse. They clapped when a player on the other team made an amazing behind-the-back, one-handed catch. They were just too involved in their kid’s game, but I still was glad to get out of the bleachers.
As we walked away, my wife couldn’t help but laugh at me. She knows me too well. I’ve never been one to “suffer fools quietly.” When my oldest son was in high school, ran cross country and had a meet, I used to wander off to the most remote corner of the course. The more remote the spot, the better. I could get a close-up look at the action, cheer on my son, and encourage every runner, no matter the team, who ran past. Most important, I could steer clear of over-zealous parents.
Oh, the joys of high school sports.