The other day my youngest child, a seventh grader, had a junior high football game.
The game was against another team from a neighboring town, who - due to recent decline in numbers - did not have the ability to put separate teams on the field for their seventh graders and their eighth graders.
The result was an agreement between the two schools, the eighth graders would play the first two quarters of the game (their team supplementing with some seventh graders as needed) and the seventh graders would play the second two quarters of the game (their team using just their seventh grade only.)
Unfortunately, when it came time for our seventh graders to take the field, the opposing team decided they would use this as an opportunity to gain a little spread in the score and therefore decided to leave their eighth graders on the field as well.
Let me stop here - this is not a sports story. This is a preamble to a point.
A very long point - yes, but a point. Not a story.
Upon the first score of the opposing team two of our coaches vocally gave their opinions on how they felt about the other team reneging on their agreement and leaving their eighth grade players in.
Then my husband and I decided - we too should join in.
And like the lowlifes we were at that moment, we told all within earshot how we felt about our son and his teammates getting scored on by these older-by-a-year players.
And that changed.... absolutely nothing.
Dear readers, if you come here for worldly knowledge please - look elsewhere. You won't find any of that here. I have none to give.
I can tell you, however, with 100 percent certainty, that no ref or opposing team coach - in the history of sports - has ever listen to some bozo parent in the crowd yelling like a lunatic and thought - you know, they're right. That was a crappy call on my part. I should retract that call and issue a formal apology and let the crowd's voice be heard.
Never has this happened.
We know this, my husband and I. We are, after all, watching child number three at this point. Plus we've watched countless other games of our siblings, nieces, nephews and maybe even played in one or two of our own.
We know that never has this happened.
So why? Why did we lose our minds in a moment and become those bleacher-boneheads that hurdle out insults in the name of righting what we believe is a wrong?
The answer, I think, is poor parenting.
Poor parenting causes us to do stupid things.
Maybe because we love our kids so much. Maybe because our kids drive us so bonkers all of our sensibilities are no longer about us. Maybe we think that by having children we possess some spectacular knowledge that others do not yet have.
I do not know. But I do know that being a mom has caused me to have some very. stupid. moments.
And when I look back on those moments after they are done... and I dwell on them and hash them over and replay them again and again (because that's how I roll) almost all of them come back to the same thing.
Why did I do that....?
Because in the moment it seemed like the parenting thing to do. I thought that was the best use of my mom voice.
I mean later, it caused me to want to stab my own tongue with my fork tines, but
in the heat of some moment - I was parenting. At it's finest.
Or it's lowest. Yelling over everyone else. Or joining in everyone else's yelling.
Do either of these things in a sane moment seem like a good solution to anything??
Lovely, sane people of the world, learn from the mistakes of others. Namely, me. Yelling at refs, opposing coaches, your own kid's coaches, other parents in the crowd... none of this will ever change the game for the better.
It's nothing but a spectacularly loud display of poor parenting.
When you don't know what else to do... you yell.
And then you contemplate tongue stabbing.
Unless you're a true brainiac and then you don't learn anything from it at all and keep repeating it again and again and again until you've earned yourself a fun little nickname from all the other parents like "Psycho Sue" or "Loud Dad Dan."
Learn from me. Learn from Psycho Sue and Loud-Dad Dan.
Watch the game with parental pride that your kid looks cute in his uniform. That your daughter played her first three minutes of varisty. That little Tommy scored his first goal or that little Ashlyn managed to go through an entire game without once picking her nose in front of the crowd.
Celebrate the small victories. Those are the ones that count.