As parents, we see rules for players at nearly every sporting event we go to. But somehow, No Metal Cleats on the Field and No gum on the Court just don’t cover it anymore. Perhaps that’s because more often than not, the trouble is with an adult and not the pint-sized players. Surely some new rules can keep the grown-ups in check as they (hopefully) cheer on their kids:
1. These are kids. Some can barely pee in the toilet. This is not the MLB, NFL, NHL or even the WWE. Simmer down, please.
2. The F-bomb, the B-word, the S-word and a whole lot of other words have no business flying out of your mouth at a kid’s game. Save it for the next PTO meeting.
3. No matter how crappy they play, no matter what a little snot they are, you do not get to yell insults about other people’s kids. Period. If you are going to cheer, go right ahead. But if you don’t have something nice to say, zip your lips.
4. Allow yourself a break from your phone. Your clients and inbox can wait a hot minute—you deserve this time. The kids are playing their little hearts out. Or maybe they are just drawing stick figures in the outfield dirt, but either way, it’s a memory. Facebook can wait.
5. If you are not willing to coach, bring snacks or coordinate practices, shut your mouth about the people who are (unless said person is breaking rules #1-#5). When was the last time you cut $125 worth of orange slices?
6. This is a freakin’ game. It is meant to be FUN. If you are going to suck the ever-loving life out of everyone involved here, your child included, feel free to leave before the game begins.
7. Kids are watching you (and the look on your face) when they hit a ball, slap a puck, kick a ball, make a basket, block a goal OR if they DON’T. Show some grace. We are building the grown-ups of the next generation. Stop being an asshole and be gentle to those tender hearts. (Refer back to #6.)
8. Leave the refs and umps alone. There is no instant replay here, and you will not change their minds by screaming at them about whatever you feel their ophthalmological needs are.
9. This is not about YOU or the fact you almost made it to state 20 years ago or that you would have gone pro were it not for your knee injury. It is about these kids who are writing their own stories RIGHT NOW. Let them have their time to shine.
10. People win. People lose. That is life. It doesn’t do any good to have a crappy attitude about losing, but it can be a great life lesson if you model good sportsmanship. Show your kid how to find the good in the game, learn something from it, and then go get ice cream.
So, clap, encourage, and cheer your kid on. There is no one they would rather see in the stands than you. But remember, there is no “time out box” for adults here, so be a decent example of a human being or you are outta here!