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10 obnoxious things that parents have said at kids sporting events

I have been a parent, coach and umpire at hundreds of kids' sports events. Both of my kids got offered college scholarships to play sports: more thanks to extensive professional training and extremely hard work on their part than to any particular input from me but they got a lot of support at home. Anyone you see playing sports in college or on TV has practiced for thousands of hours for most of their life. It is easy to fantasize that your 12-year-old tennis star will be playing at Wimbledon but it is a long road that not many people travel.

Adults will say the lousiest things to kids and behave badly. I have seen parents get ejected from games. In my area, police have been called to break up fights between parents. Most of the intense bad behavior seems to be directed at middle school and high school age kids.

People underestimate how hard it is for young kids to play sports: they watch sports on TV and expect that level of play from young kids. I have told loudmouth dads to scale it up: expecting an 80 lb 10 year old to throw a 5-ounce baseball accurately across the infield is like expecting a 240 lb adult to throw a cantaloupe into a trash can 50 yards away.

Other Coaches in my little league had a "kids vs. parents" game which shut a lot of mouths. Not as easy as it looks!

10 obnoxious things that parents have said at kids sporting events

    1. Just have fun!

    This is code for "don't screw up"

    2. Oh come on ref/umpire!

    These comments guarantee that future decisions will not go your way

    3. Come on, hustle!

    Frequently from a horribly overweight slob or enraged super-alpha.

    4. How could you miss that?

    Please, show us how it's done.

    5. “Their pitching/defense/shooting, etc. is terrible”

    I heard this one today. Pretty rude: keep it to yourself.

    6. Razzing a pitcher

    I watched adults from another team razz a 13 year old pitcher: yelling and distracting him. It was pretty horrifying. The kid was so rattled he got hit with a line drive that came back on him and needed medical attention. Baseball can be very dangerous and the players need to concentrate.

    7. “Kill him!”

    This was yelled by a parent of an American Football player at a fundamentalist Christian school. He was quite serious. Disturbing.

    American high school football is so dangerous that there are ambulances parked at almost every game in my area and used at most of them.

    8. “I want you to rip off their heads and XXX down their throats “

    This was uttered by a legendary coach in our area: legendary for poor behavior and a bad attitude. The players were between 12 and 14 years old and pretty stunned. Also, it was unclear how this advice applied to baseball games where you are not supposed to touch each other.

    9. I watched a very overweight dad run up and down the sidelines yelling at his 9-10 year old daughter as she tried to play soccer at a tournament.

    He was oblivious to everyone that was sitting down trying to enjoy their kids playing in the game. He was getting very sweaty.

    10. What happened out there? You can do better than that!

    This was part of a rousing post-game speech from a coach. On this team I was an assistant coach. I tried several times to get this guy to stop acting like he had just been stabbed whenever a kid made a mistake. This guy did not have much to offer: he could not even throw an accurate batting practice and had no idea how the game should be played except what he saw on TV.

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