Thursday, June 4, 2009

Catty Much?

I just have to take a temporary break from shouldering the blame for my general distaste for, and inability to get along with, all other people.

I do still believe that I could do much better in the nonjudgmental and tolerance arenas, and wishing others would change is futile. But all of that boring high road crap is getting shelved today, because I just need to vent. In fact, I wrote the first draft of this post 'on location' at the neighborhood pool, scrawling maniacally on a piece of scrap paper because I was simply so annoyed and enraged by everyone around me. Dire straights, people!

Now let's observe a brief moment of silence while the claws and fangs emerge...

Either there is something in the water in my part of the country, or there is a fundamental screw loose when it comes to kids' sports and the so called "grown ups" involved. Call me a big ol' silly goose, but aren't kids' sports supposed to be for the kids? If so, why then, do parents get over-involved and super competitive? Why do they push their kids so intensely? Why the pressure? 

I have witnessed some of the most obnoxious and curious behavior, all from people who are old enough to know better. Coaxing, no, forcing their child into the water, when the child clearly was not interested. Begging the swim coach to talk their child into joining the swim team, when the child has outright stated that she doesn't want to swim, she would prefer to be on the dive team, thank you very much. Kids crying and shivering because it is 58 degrees and cloudy and are being forced by their parents to "suck it up". Parents bragging to each other about how, even though their kids are injured, these elite athletes are so dedicated, they are continuing to practice and compete, even against the doctor's advice. Shoulder injuries at 15? Hello? 

Sounds fun, doesn't it? And here I am, right square in the middle of it. Helping to lead the charge, even. Ugh. When I agreed to be the assistant team rep (basically assistant team mom), I thought I could dilute some of the intensity and bring a more relaxed, fun vibe to the scene. Clearly, I have my work cut out for me. If I want to stick to my vision, I am going to have to piss off, challenge, and confront a lot of people and a lot of bad behavior. And oh, how I detest confrontation. Double ugh.

So I am not in great shape if I am this worked up and I am only one week into it. It is going to be a long summer. And I know (sort of) that it really isn't any of my business, and I shouldn't care about the dynamic between parent and child, and just because I am not very competitive doesn't mean I should expect everyone to behave as I do. In fact, if they did, we probably wouldn't have a very good team and nothing would get done. But still... BUT STILL!

Oh, and if you just can't seem to get enough of the complete dissolution of my character, go see what other faults I am exposing over at my little sanctuary from all things upsetting, MWOB.

19 comments:

Under the Influence said...

The stage moms, the sports parents, the intellectual pushing parent - they'll never go away so I just run for cover. Or I just sit really far away from them.

Em said...

The great citizens around here must be drinking from your water fountain - football, tennis, soccer, cheerleading, gymnastics, karate, piano, basket weaving.

The kids in Texas do it bigger and better.

Their parents make sure of it.

Me? I'm teaching my kids that the world needs ditch diggers too. Do what you like. Bad approach?

(Excellent post! An extra 10 points added to your score for nice use of the word "vibe" :-)

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

I am so not competitive - and my husband is - we have "chats" about his behavior towards our son while he should be enjoying karate, baseball, basketball and swimming! I don't think I would have taken that position as I would have steam coming out my ears!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I was at the Virginia Ren Fest last weekend. They have a knighting ceremony for the kids & before it they have a little class on how to bow & what to say. The kids all got up in lines and practiced while a courtier went around helping them.

OMG! There were parents in the group shouting at the kids "move you leg back. BACK! Your head! Get your head lower! DO it AGAIN! Get it right"

A woman in a red wig is going to tap your child on the shoulder with a wooden sword, say "I knight you' and them a certificate. What is the big deal? She isn't going say "Sorry, that leg wasn't back far enough, no knighthood for you." Those who bow lowest do not get any special reward, but you'd think there were grants of land involved.

I'd hate to see these people in a sports environment

Kristina P. said...

I think that sports and competitions really bring out the worst in people sometimes. And the best. It's a weird paradox.

Jenners said...

No no no ... you are not wrong, they are. I can't stand when parents don't respect their kids. And that is what it is: a lack of respect. There is a total difference between being encouraging and helping a child overcome fears to having a complete lack of respect for what they need, want and have interest in. Good luck with your mission ... I know it won't be easy but it is important.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Stories like this make me less sad that my kids are almost grown.

BenLand said...

sounds like just another saturday at our local little league field....i just have to laugh at people...that's all you really CAN do....[and they hate it when you laugh at them...heeheehee]

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

I just sit back and take it all in... knowing that my kids play for fun... thats all. My son is extremely talented sports wise but when it ceases to become fun for him, he quits... thats fine with me,...so far he is still playing 3 sports at a time though LOL

Elizabeth Bradley said...

A reward, my children are grown and no longer am I forced to witness all the "bad parenting" masquerading as "concerned parenting" by others. I've been through it all, baseball, softball, football, water polo, show choir, cheer leading, track--Whew. You, my dear, have your head on straight.

Beadiful Things said...

Yeah, this goes on in the freakin' pre-school set too.

I was athletic as a kid. I'd like my kids to be athletic too. I foolishly signed my daughter up for soccer last year, thinking it would be a good chance for her to run around a soccer field and spend time with her friends (she was 5 1/2 at the time). Wrong. She hated it. I told her she didn't have to like it, but she did have to finish the season (a couple of months) because I'd paid for it and I'm not raising a quitter. My 5 year old doesn't call the shots. So we'd go to the games and she was just so uninterested it was comical. Her coach would say, "E, you ready to go in?" And she'd say, "no." If he put her in anyway (and often he wouldn't!!), she'd be in her own little world; instead of running after the ball, she'd run away from it if it came too close. I never said a word because I KNOW what it's like to have a raving lunatic (I mean, parent) screaming at you from the sidelines.

Of course all the parents noticed and knew that she was, uh, not a very good soccer player. And by the end of the season they were all very comfortable making jokes and laughing about her lack of skills and interest. And it really bugged the piss out of me.

This spring, she enjoyed group tennis lessons quite a bit (though there were some complaints about the heat and who can blame her?). She's also an excellent little skier -- apparently she's like her dad and excels at the solo sports. There will be no more team sports for her until/unless (a) she is quite a bit older and (b)she expresses an interest in them herself.

Good luck with this. It sounds infuriating. I'm infuriated just reliving that brief soccer season.

Eva Robertson said...

Hey Deb,

What fun to sit down and read a little gossip about the pool . . . .
in my opinion you're way too hard on yourself in the "good person" department -- sounds like you have a lot of mom guilt or christian guilt or something, because as far as I can tell there's nothing wrong with FEELING (as opposed to expressing) anger, annoyance, impatience and disdain. Those are colorful emotions that can pack some real literary punch. The danger is if they make you unhappy, consume you too frequently, or ruin your relationships.

Anyway, this post made me laugh b/c my son just started swim team and was one of those who (I learned upon returning to pick him up) stayed out of the pool because he was cold. I was disappointed in him and told him so. (We are in the 90s here in Va and swimming is what any sane person wants to do).

On the other hand, I don't hover or interfere or cajole or bully as an observing parent (I often don't observe period). So maybe I'm the worst from both sides of the issue -- neither involved nor fun-oriented!

I can never quite get over my Puritan upbringing which scarred my conscience with the ever- nagging sense of how lucky we are to have food and a roof over our heads, let alone extracurricular sports opportunities. So I tend to have little patience for whining about not wanting to do the very sport I've been begged to sign my boy up for. If it's not suiting the momentary fancy, well, GET OVER IT. It may be fun if you give it a chance.

I say that, and it's the way I feel, but I'm more likely to simply say "Fine. Don't swim. You can just sit in the sweltering heat for an hour and watch the other kids splash around. And you can do that all summer if you please, because I'm at least going to get a hour's relief from your whining for the $50 I paid for this swim gig. See you later alligator."

Eva Robertson said...

Hey Beadiful Things --

I'm laughing out loud to read of your soccer experience. Ditto with my boy when he played soccer at 4. And now in T-ball at 5 1/2 he tries our patience with the whole "being in his own world" thing. But unlike you, there appears to be some genetic precedent for this :), so I can't be too hard on him.

It sounds to me like you have dealt with the whole thing impeccably. And YES to waiting for team sport sign ups until they're older and ASK for it.

Straight to Your Hart said...

Bring a coke and a smile:0)

It is so hard for me to go and watch my daughter compete...cause (sad to say) my hubby is that way. Drives me nuts!! I'm just happy she is doing something healthy for her body AND that she wants to do it at all. sigh... Deep down I know everybody wishes they could be like me in that way...cough, cough. That's a load a crap..giggle. On to drink away:)

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

I totally agree with you. I want my kids to play sports but will NEVER force them. C played soccer for a few years and when he didnt want to play anymore we didnt sign him up. Same goes for the little guys. People like that piss me off. Im sorry you have to deal with them.

Brenda Jean said...

Oh Deb, you are one brave woman. I will admit to you that I could NOT do this. Track is pretty laid back, but even that has the parents you speak of. We don't even want to get started on football around here, and my horror at seeing coaches yelling at 5 year olds in rocket football to get tough. I just happened to observe it one day, but my boys only did one year in junior high and that almost gave me a rash.

Stay sane and drink heavily perhaps???

Wendyburd1 said...

Sports seem to bring ou the worst in the PARENTS of the kids most of the time!

Harlene said...

I was once in "charge" of the Children"s Sunday School at church. One Mom, who was all about competition and her perfect over achieving kids, asked about my plans for the cub scout program. She went on and on about how sub-standard the programs she had been in were, and she was looking forward to my bringing ours up to par. I quickly informed her I would be a big disappointment to her and that she should join a pack somewhere else. She was stunned by my candor, but I was thrilled to hear her say, "Thank you, I will."

stefanie said...

don't even get me started on those parents. my blood pressure...