I know; here in the South it's safer to talk about religion and politics than it is our beloved sports programs. But it has to be done. I decided that this morning while shopping at Kroger (a local supermarket). I was standing in line behind a woman who, from the looks of things, played on the line for an NFL team a few years back. She had most of her teeth, but there were a key few missing up front. OK maybe hockey, but not likely. Not in Georgia.
Anyway, this woman was talking to her son (I'd say he was maybe 10 years, maybe a big 9). My first thought was, "Why isn't that kid in school?" He was leaning on her grocery cart and complaining about not feeling well, so he was probably sick. But wait a minute – Mom was talking to the kid about his poor performance at last night's football practice. Apparently a bigger kid had gotten the best of him at some point during the practice. And Mom, while belittling the kid for his lack of domination over another 10 year old the night before, was trying to get Junior pumped up for tonight's practice. I presume he plans to be healed before then.
Now are you sitting down? Mom actually said to the kid, "You better kick his a** tonight, or I'm gonna kick yours when we get home." I couldn't believe it. You should've seen the kid's face: an unhealthy mix of fear and dismay. And that, my friends, sums up the way white trash parents drag their kids through recreational sports. No wonder kids burn out and abandon a sport they probably loved at one time.
My husband and I together have raised 4 children. All of them played some sport or another year-round. We had one hard and fast rule: if you sign up to play, you're gonna finish the season. After that, you never have to play again if you so choose. There's a lesson in that, if you think about it for a minute. Some parents never see it. When I see a parent (and they usually come in pairs, but not always) berate a kid like this woman did, or sit in the stands and shout at players, refs and other parents, I cringe inwardly and outwardly. How obnoxious. Their kid is usually the most talented athlete to come down the pike since Samson. Everyone else's kid is on the field strictly in a supporting role, and everyone else's kid inevitably falls short. Refs are stupid; coaches are inept. And yet Mr. and Mrs. White Trash sit in the stands on their a**es and dole out misery across the board.
I will save the specific sport of cheerleading for another post, all by itself. Those parents are a breed all their own, and their girls…wow. They're what therapy is made of.