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By Felix Adamo / The Californian
By Heather Ijames
I've had a respite from organized youth sports for a few years. It was nice. Had the boys in music lessons. No more cold morning games or hot afternoon practices. No more having someone sit next to me, spitting their saliva-riddled sunflower seed shells everywhere, stuck on my shorts and in my shoes when I got up. No more fighting for a parking spot or having some blowhard fanatic yell at my kid because he seemed to magically, uniquely, and for the first time ever in youth sports, make an error.
Music lessons were rhythm and harmonies and half notes. Not to mention better math grades. Like I said, it was nice.
But more than a month ago, my eldest told me that many of the boys in his class were playing football, and therefore, so must he. I worried. Not because it was football and he was bound to get hurt, but because it meant certain doom for me. I'd have to tolerate the worst part of youth sports: other parents.
Look, I'm not pointing fingers because I'm fully aware I'm an offender, too. To the best of my knowledge, I don't commit the offenses I complained about earlier, but I am a hooter and hollerer of encouragement, as if my son is engaging in acts of incredible feat, even if he only moves the ball a yard.
What can I say? The kid can barely find his shoes in the morning and sometimes forgets to eat, so moving the ball a few feet works for me.
So yes, I suppose I am one of "those" parents, and you can break the majority of us involved in youth sports into several categories.
The "Delusional": This routinely over-caffeinated parent actually thinks either a world title or the entire stake of their kid's college scholarship is on the line. At. Every. Game. He or she will stand at the sidelines, or two inches behind the coach, and scream. At everyone. "Horrible call! Bad play! You call that a pass? What are you, a 9-year-old amateur?"
I'd like to find out where this person works and stand on his sideline yelling. "You call that an inner office memo? What part of 8:30 a.m. means 8:32? Collated, buddy, collated!"
The "I Have Way More Shade Equipment and Coolers than You": These people are prepared for a sunshine apocalypse, granted, but I don't get it. A chair and a pair of sunglasses is all I need, but maybe I'm just lazy. I used to be so bare bones about what I have to take from the car that my kids were lucky if I even tugged them along.
The "Money Collector": One of Benjamin Franklin's famous quotes should be amended. It should read, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes, and the team mom who will hunt you down to purchase the voluntary (involuntary) discount cards or coupon books." I've tried running, faking a seizure, and even being blunt and rude. Alas, they've won. They always win.
The "My Kid Is Perfect": When this parent's kid drops the ball, strikes out, or kicks wide, then it's someone else's fault. Always. It was the first baseman. The quarterback. The man who chalked the lines. No, blame shifter, it was your kid. But don't worry. Most of the time, it really is a joint effort of kids whose parents make them do this, only getting on by as sloppily as they need to, to garner the snack at the end. Plus, one of the interesting things about kids is they lack adequate coordination. This is likely why we don't trust them with kitchen knives and driver's licenses. So, cheer up and admit your kid is flawed. Just like the rest of them.
I'm not sure which of these I fit into; all I know is that my son has made his request known to me. "Sit by that tree, Mom. No, not that one. The other one. No. Farther. The other one. Yes, on the other side of the parking lot. Thanks!"
Little does he remember that I possess a bullhorn. Geesh, I hope the "Money Collector" or the "Delusional" doesn't figure that trick out.
-- Heather Ijames is a community columnist whose work appears here every third Saturday. These are the opinions of Ijames, not necessarily The Californian. Send email to her at email@example.com.