On Sunday mornings my son plays basketball in a league. It's a recreational league that's he's played in for a couple years now. I enjoy watching him play but today's games were a little different.
He plays two game each week and today his mother couldn't be there so it was just me on the bleachers.
As I sat down and watch the boys warm up for the first game. I saw faces of other parents with boys' on my sons' team. We made small talk until the game started.
As the game wore on, I heard fathers and a couple mothers, but mostly fathers shouting. Shouting at referees, and at kids.
I heard one father in particular, that before too long I was listening to the yelling more than I was paying attention to the game.
"Why did he do that? You've gotta dribble. Pass the ball. Seriously, that's a foul. Block out, you let that kid go right around you. Don't foul".
Finally I'd had enough...
Look maybe your kid just isn't that good, I said. Maybe this isn't the NBA All-Star game. Maybe your son is just having fun playing basketball. He's gonna screw up every once in a while. He's gonna take bad shots and get beat on defense, he's 10. So why don't you just sit here, shut up, and watch the damn game. After wards tell him how proud you are of his efforts. Applaud him for hustling and playing hard when he's in the game, and when it's all over remember again, he's 10. No colleges are gonna recruit him today and I don't see any NBA scouts in this gym. He's not here to relive your glory days. Face it, maybe your son just isn't that good.
And for the second game....
I didn't say a word.
You see, after the first game, somewhere between believing my kid was great and being competitive, I realized that maybe he's just not that good. Maybe he's just a kid who likes playing ball, who's going to screw up from time to time, and won't be the best player on the court. Maybe it's really me who needs to sit down and shut up.
The boy played the second game just the same as he did the first. He hustled and played hard.He made some good plays, and he screwed up once in awhile. But at least for this game his annoying dad wasn't yelling from the bleachers.