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Life Lessons

Sports Parents

If you’ve been around high school or college sports for even a little while, chances are that you know one of those “sports parents.”

Dr. Rob Gilbert, professor of sports psychology at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J., offers the following list of ways to see if a parent is going too far. Is the list tongue-in-cheek or serious? Maybe a little of both. Here’s what Dr. Gilbert says:

It’s interesting that what we can instantly spot in other parents, we rarely see in ourselves. Here’s a check-list to see if you’re in “sports-parent” denial. Check off all the items that apply to you. There will be a scoring key at the end.

1. You use the word “we” when referring to your child’s team.
2. You cheer and applaud only for your own child.
3. You try hard to be the coach’s best friend.
4. You know the referees and umpires by their first names.
5. The referees and umpires know you by your first name.
6. The athletic director sits close by you during games.
7. You get more excited on game days than your kids do.
8. You’re sure you know more about the sport than your child does, even though you never played it!
9. You use a stopwatch to keep track of exactly how much playing time your child gets.
10. Your vehicles sport numerous bumper stickers with school logos.
11. You have bumper stickers that read, “My soccer player is an honor student.”
12. While in the stands, you keep statistics (like batting averages) and you update them throughout the game.
13. You keep stats on every member of the team.
14. You wear your child’s team or school paraphernalia from head-to-toe.
15. You dress this way even on days when there isn’t a game.
16. This is a serious one: You child is injured and you actually consider letting him or her play because it’s an “important” game.
17. When chatting with coaches, you use the phrase, “I’ve done a little coaching myself . . . .”
18. You know the players on the opposing team by name.
19. You know their parents.
20. You know all the websites where there may be coverage of your child’s team.
21. You scout upcoming opponents.
22. You use a stopwatch during soccer games to keep track of the time. When necessary, you “correct” the referees.
23. You have your kids “held back” in school so they can repeat a grade for an athletic advantage.
24. You sell your home and move to another town so your child can play for a certain team or coach.
25. You complain that the local paper doesn’t cover T-ball.
26. You come out of the stands and cheer right alongside the cheerleaders.
27. You have a video archive of footage for every moment your child has ever played.
28. You have a newspaper archive for every sports-related reference to your child.
29. You miss work to attend practices and you’re not even a coach!
30. You bring hand-made cardboard signs for every game.
31. You have these signs professionally made.
32. You own a rule book.
33. Just in case, you take your rule book to every game.

SCORING KEY: If you think that showing this check-list to others would be informative and amusing — you’re probably not “over the top.” But, if you’re considering hiding this article from your spouse and kids — you probably have a problem.

ONE LAST THING: Remember, the games belong to the kids and not the parents.

Dr. Gilbert offers a daily Success Hotline at (973) 743-4690 and a daily motivational blog at GilbertSuccessHotline.blogspot.com


One comment for “Sports Parents”

  1. I found a few things in Dr. Gilberts list I have been known to do. However, #21 was done at the request of the team coach and while not the coach’s best friend, I consider it a privilege to be considered his freind.

    Posted by Kerry OH | January 8, 2009, 8:21 am

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