Guest Blogger: Wacky Youth Sports Dad

Today I am excited and honored to share another post from a friend who has created an honest and humorous blog that looks at the world of youth sports from his perspective as dad and coach. I have known Steve Griffith for over 10 years. Steve runs his own successful public relations firm outside of Philadelphia.

Here was his very first post, with many more to come (somehow I thought the one I posted last week was his first one, not sure what I was thinking):

Wacky Youth Sports Dad

Here we go. First blog since my wife was in the hospital recovering from a huge but curative operation. The pressure is on, baby!

Figured have to have a theme more specific than my unique observations of the human condition. So, I choose the one thing that I do that has true audience-attraction attributes:

My daily interaction with my 13 year-old son, Mike and

  • his friends
  • coaches (including me)
  • refs, umpires and other officials
  • his friends’ parents
  • and the entire culture of youth sports, which consistently cracks me up.

Those attributes are emotion, excitement, drama, conflict, change and, most of all, humor. I will convey all of that to the best of my ability.

For me, it will be both cathartic and therapeutic. For whomever reads, I hope only that it be well worth whatever little time they spend – for I know how valuable everyone’s time is (OMG, my first cliche).

The one recent occurrence that has all of the above attributes came last month, when I got a called for a technical foul while coaching one of Mike’s CYO basketball games. (OMG, I just said to myself. Don’t make this blasted blog all about you!)

So, we are an equal playing time collection of 13 year-olds — some pretty good — in a level below the so-called A teams that each Parish here in suburban Philly has one of (Oops. Ended a sentence with a preposition. Wait. It’s OK. I’m blogging!). Late season road contest with not much at stake but that satisfaction that comes with winning, crowd of about 15 parents, tight contest with a couple of quality refs being paid $35 each.

The most inconsistent call all season long around here is the player prone on the floor with the ball being called for traveling or not being called for traveling. I’ve found no one who can dispute the previous sentence.

So the opposing team player outhustles my guy to a loose ball and slides across the floor while gaining possession and flipping it to a teammate. Seems to me that that is usually a travelling call, but no whistle and I apparently jumped up and down like a four year-old (don’t really remember), eliciting a whistle and the dreaded T from a ref who deserved better from me.

Their guy hit one of two but we managed to eke out the win (Mike had a great assist for a layup to seal it).

This being CYO competition, I had to go through a post-game process of providing my name and contact info to the ref who hooked me (That’s right, no such process in AAU). Also had to produce an incident report in which I was properly humble, apologetic and deferential.

Through it all, my dominant feelings were:

  • I could have cost our players the feeling of winning the game – not a small thing since we didn’t have many Ws
  • Various CYO administrators had to spend personal time on the incident report because of my childish behavior

The punchline is that my players were imitating me and laughing at me at our next practice and, I can’t believe I actually did what they said. I now truly know what the insanity defense is.

Also, my wife told the other parents that I would be in “Time Out” for that coming weekend, which I was (with dispensation for Mike’s games).

It should be my last T. I’m not an over-the-top dad-coach who takes himself too seriously, which is why I think this blog has a chance to entertain.

Next time — the dreaded PGA. That is the always-required (by the Dad) Post Game Analysis.

You can read more of Steve’s posts at wacky youth sports dad

*image from Premier Physical Therapy

8 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Wacky Youth Sports Dad

  1. I like that there is someone blogging about a subject that I find so interesting. My son is now twenty-six and coaching college football at the NAIA level. I coached youth sports some years ago, but usually at the recreational skill level. I enjoyed it most of the time, although it was nice just to be a spectator too.

    The one thing I still find astonishing is how so many spectator parents feel like it is fine to outwardly criticize and undermine a coach. In fact, if they were shown a tape of their behavior at a youth basketball game, I’m willing to bet that most would be embarrassed by themselves. Sports brings out the worst in some people as they scream and carry on about a bad call. Don’t they realize they are making fools of themselves and that their own children (as these blowhards are usually there “supporting” their children) probably wish they would simply pipe down?

    Whenever my son was playing for a coach who I didn’t think was very good, I still took the time to thank the coach for his/her efforts after each game. These people are often volunteering their time and that should count for something. It’s a heck of a lot easier to second guess from the bleachers.

    It is an interesting facet of human nature that so many people feel it is their right to be a critic simply based on their familiarity with the sport. I’ll bet they don’t act this way in other environments. Do they criticize the way someone set up a display at a store because they are a customer? Do they criticize a car mechanic about their work because they have changed the oil in their own car? Why do sports give people the license to act like raving lunatics?

    1. Some great points, Pete. Sports seem to have a unique place in our society – the players and coaches are either revered or hated, and many are paid outrageous amounts of money. My guess is that much of the animosity is jealousy, those critics wish they were coaching or playing. Why such jealousy might exist at the youth sports level is beyond me, since anyone can volunteer to be a coach. I hope your son is enjoying his coaching, and I wish him and the team success!

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