When I was younger, I used to get a little bit embarrassed by my dad.
- It wasn’t because he answered our home phone with, “City Morgue, how can I help you?” or “Pizza delivery!“
- It wasn’t because he made the same “punny” jokes over and over.
- And it wasn’t because of the numerous nicknames he called me (most of which I actually like).
It was because of his sports spectating style. Softball specifically.
Let’s keep two things in mind:
1) My dad has been playing baseball or softball pretty much his entire life. He’s clearly familiar with the rules. He knows he’s right.
2) The slow-pitch league I was in was for girls about 8 to 10 years old, I believe. It wasn’t known for being overly intense.
From any position on the field I could hear him arguing with the umpire over balls and strikes. I could hear him arguing the merits of playing with the infield fly rule. I could hear our coaches asking him to sit down, please.
And, on several occasions, I could hear the umpire warning him that he was close to being tossed.
On those occasions I would see him bite his tongue and stalk away, contenting himself to watch the rest of the game from outside the fence, where he could yell freely.
Remembering that, and knowing my own competitive streak and tendency toward argument, I’ve promised myself that I wouldn’t do that to my future children. But I may have spoken too soon.
Last night I went to my husband’s (!!) baseball game and found myself moderately channeling my father. I vehemently disagreed with certain balls and strikes, and was yelling, “That’s b- !” before I remembered that I was sitting next to two children.
I grumbled about certain plays that should have been outs and paced in the stands from about the 6th inning on. Unlike my father, I didn’t speak with the umpire directly, but I also try to avoid confrontation in general.
Confrontation aside, I fear that I could eventually be *that* parent.
It’s possible that this will all be a moot point, and that when it’s my kids I’ll just enjoy the game and not worry about the missed calls or ridiculous strike zones.
But based on family history, I highly doubt it.
*I should note, just for clarity, that I would never ever yell at the kids themselves. And you can bet my inner Mama Bear would come out if any other parent did. Like this.