Last month, I was at Takhini Arena at 7 o’blessed clock in the morning to interview some figure skaters. I waited until I returned to the office before seeking sympathy because these figure skating folk do this a couple of times a week … the coaches, even more. Each parent in the lobby either found a chair to sit in or, at the very least, a wall to lean against … but there was no complaining. It made me wonder whatever happened to the fabled, loud-mouthed parent who would shout at coaches and referees and other parents. As the legend goes, there are parents out there who live vicariously through their children’s exploits on the field of sport. Any slight against them, is a slight against the memory of similar unchallenged slights they had endured. Now, I have had lots of opportunity to meet such a creature. My children have, and are, involved in sports. But, never once, have I witnessed a belligerent parent. Heck, these people even applaud the other team’s goals.Sitting along many a side line on soccer fields watching my son, I have overheard such soothing comments as, “If the referee didn’t see it, he didn’t see it,” and “The coach has a lot more on his mind than how many seconds you
have played.” My daughter is a synchronized swimmer, so I have to allow for the fact that audiences are so well behaved because it is extremely difficult to heckle a swim team when the girls spend half of the time underwater. So, never once have I heard someone shout out, “You call that a double tower lift?” or “Your propulsion technique sucks!” I don’t think this is just a Yukon thing, either. I read in the newspaper of a parent who beat up the opposing coach. Yes, this does prove my point because it happened in Ontario. This is such a rare occurrence that it made the national news. Keep in mind that just murdering somebody in Detroit won’t get your picture on the television anymore … you have to kill someone special or in some hideous way to warrant a mention. I think this new age of civility (as if the old age was uncivil … I’m having my doubts about these urban legends) owes to the “Cocooning of America” (a term coined by an American, but, well, it applies to us, too). We North Americans are finding more and more solace in our families. Ask any furniture salesman how the last Midnight Madness Sale went. They will tell you it was dead all night, whereas 10 years ago the place would have been jammed by bargain hunters. We are staying home within the bosom of our families. We recognize the benefit of sports for our children and, so, we take them. But we make the best of it and we revel in the camaraderie of the experience. We recognize that the referees are either volunteers or being paid a token to help everyone enjoy the game. And we know the coaches have taken on larger loads of responsibility than we are willing to take on because, well, we like to cocoon. And, so, we sit back and enjoy the game. It is always a sad day for me when the last indoor soccer game is played. It’s an exciting, fast-paced game and enjoyed for the price of gas to and from the school gym. And to see a synchronized pageant fills me with wonder. My daughter is doing things I would never, nor have ever,
been able to do. I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Why
else don’t you see loud-mouthed parents?