Wednesday, December 08, 2010
The orange slices at halftime, the fleet of minivans shuttling players to and from practice, the words of encouragement after a tough loss... yes, little league parents are a big part of their children's games; at least the ones who help make treasured childhood memories.
They may also be the memory their kids would rather forget, such as Mom yelling at the coach to get Junior more playing time. In the last decade or so, little league parents have become notorious for sticking up for their little leaguers to the point where they make the games less enjoyable for the players, the coaches, and the refs. All parents want their children to do well and get a chance to a play (and experience the joys of winning), but it seems there is a gender divide between how each parent handles a child's success -- and failures.
Moms are often the most ferocious advocates for their little athletes, and as a result will shift blame for an athletic shortcoming from lack of ability, skill, or effort to outside forces like injury, stupid coaching, bad plays, or the other team being evil/good/bad, depending on what is most fitting for the situation. Moms like to coddle. They like to make sure their kids are emotionally sound, and by their definition it usually means protected from criticism. Moms try to protect egos and massage bruised ones, and so will tell their children and everyone who wants to listen that their son or daughter had a bad game due to a phantom injury, the coach putting them in during the wrong situation, dirty play from the other team, or a blown call.
Dads also love to blame coaching and reffing, and unfortunately some have taken it to extremes. But rather than simply deflect all the blame on these outside factors, Dads will also put some blame on the kids. Dads can be gruff, realistic, and not averse to a little "character building." Though the refs may get their fair share of verbal abuse during a game, and there will be plenty of grousing about how a coach does not see a little athlete's potential, if a little leaguer has a bad game, a Dad may let them know about it.
Little League parents want to see their children succeed more than anything else, but when they don't, they deal with it in different, often gender specific ways. But at the end of the day, it's just a game, and more than anything else it is joy to see children playing a game and having fun.
J. Gustav is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on forensic psychology schools for Guide to Online Schools.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
As I write this I’m sitting in the semi-pleasant waiting room outside the “Surgical Center” of our local hospital. A “loved-one” is back behind all these walls getting some necessary repairs and perhaps an oil-change thrown in. I don’t like hospitals, few people do. And if you do I’d submit that you should sell your services as a proxy for those of us who hate the place. So like, the next time I have to go the ER or something, you could go FOR me. I might even consider paying you to visit the people that I should be visiting. I love those people, but I dislike hospitals THAT much, and I’m pretty sure they’ll eventually forgive me – referring to the people, not the hospitals.
A couple weeks ago I did actually have to check myself into the ER. (see the Brian Regan rant about hospitals, seriously, you must watch it) This was an odd experience. I walked in, I’d played hoops a few hours earlier and was pretty capable of, you know, walking, but they threw me in a wheel chair and then got me on a bed where I was told to “lay flat” repeatedly. I was wheeled around everywhere I went. It was like I was a lazy 3rd world dictator. Everyone was pretty nice though. Except I think they need to have a better way of prioritizing people as they walk in. Like there should be a nurse at the door, one of the more experienced ones, who can glance at you, ask a couple questions and then tell you if you’re in the “Extreme-Emergency”, “Plain-old-emergency” or the “Not really much of an emergency” lines. Just seems more efficient, and safer. Just so you know, I’m totally fine – zero problems, except that the tape they used to adhere the IV to my arm left behind “awesome residue” (good name for a rock band) that refuses to come off even with the use of power tools and spatulas (at the same time!).
These places have a weird smell that I’m convinced is pretty universal. I’ve smelled it in lots of hospitals in several states and even other countries. But I think that’s to actually make them not-so-comfortable. If you run a hospital, you probably don’t want people, you know, trying to move in or retire there on purpose. So you make the place smell bad AND you make people wear these gowns that make you feel pretty much totally naked all the time. You have look down constantly to make sure that your nether-regions are actually a little covered. And the back of you, where the “flap” is, is basically the 24-hours-a-day-moon-fest. Oh yeah, and there are needles too.
Anyway, despite all this, I’m thankful that we have hospitals, and this one even has wi-fi in the lobby, which is a plus. But that doesn’t mean I have to ever enjoy dropping by…