I will never forget hearing “go after him, rush him now” while killing a five-on-three penalty in bantam hockey when I was in high school. You see, those insightful words weren’t coming from my coach on the bench; a hockey mom in the stands was yelling them. She didn’t understand that when you’re shorthanded, you play the angles and try to cut down the wide-open space on the ice. Yet she felt the urge to scream her ignorant insight.
At the time, I just rolled my eyes and thanked God that it wasn’t my mom making a fool of herself.
In the intermission, I bugged the mother’s son about the great advice thrown my way. He didn’t really say anything, but he didn’t need to, you could tell he was really embarrassed.
I always wanted to go to the grocery store she worked at and yell, “Come on, that’s the fastest you can bag. Put the eggs on top of the bread.” Moreover, when she looked up at me as if I was a lunatic, I would have responded with, “If you don’t ignorantly tell me how to do my job, I won’t tell you how to do yours.”
Unfortunately, I never strung up enough courage to pull it off. I would have been a legend for young athletes wanting to give know-it-all sports parents a taste of their own medicine.
This hockey memory hit me on the first weekend of February when I heard a player’s mom yell, “shoot, shoot, shoot” at the York City Classic basketball tournament.
From my perspective, I didn’t think shooting from the three-point line was the right option for him. His team was up by a fair amount; therefore, I thought moving in closer to take an easier shot was the better option since there was no reason to take risks that could let the opposing team back in the game.
Nonetheless, she didn’t put two and two together. She went on to yell out specific players’ names to give them advice. All of the players purposely avoided eye contact with her, ignoring her to the best of their ability.
Although it is nice to see she is very passionate about her son’s basketball team, she was hurting the team if anything. Her advice clearly wasn’t educated and could have distracted the players from focusing on what’s happening on the court.
At least the two fans I mentioned above somewhat had their hearts in the right place. After all, they were trying to help, even though they were doing anything but that.
I have been around too many parents that have been extremely critical of players. The part that doesn’t fit in with their judgmental outlook on athletes is very few of them have an ounce of athletic blood and/or smarts in their body.
They tend to have all the right answers; however, if you were to put a whistle in their hand and say, “go show them how it is done,” they would probably crap their pants.
I distinctly remember one of my teammate’s fathers in hockey. He wasn’t a coach and it was known he never played a competitive hockey game in his life. But that didn’t stop him from making snarly comments about players behind their backs.
After one road game that our families carpooled together, he told me I should have shot on a three-on-one rather than pass. Sure, we didn’t score and we might have if I shot. But it’s a three-on-one, if I would have shot and not scored I would have looked like a very selfish player. He, however, didn’t know that because he never played a team sport and was a hindsight expert.
His son, who happened to be average at best, would often receive poor advice from him. His dad told him to shoot the puck every time he got into the offensive zone. The problem with that was we played a dump-and-chase system. So this poor kid was put into a situation where he had to disobey either his coach or his father.
All that being said, I wish more uneducated parents would let the coaches do the coaching and keep their mouths shut during the games. For the most part, all they are doing is hurting their kid’s performance and embarrassing them in front of their friends.
If you want to be a respected sports mom or dad, make sure your kid has a high-calorie meal before the game and breakdown what he did right and wrong afterwards behind closed doors, if you know what you are talking about that is. There is no need to act like a crazy banshee during show time and/or assume you know more than the coaches do.