Look at this bullshit here, people.

If you don’t have sound, I’ll recap. The two kids were wrestling in a tournament. Kid A gets Kid B pinned, while Kid A’s dad videos the match. The pinning move is uncomfortable, but not illegal, and the referee was just stepping in to call the match when Kid B’s dad runs in and tosses Kid B out of the ring before coming after Kid A’s dad. To top it off, Kid B’s dad is a wrestling coach himself.

End recap.

Now, as a parent myself, I want the best for my children. I want them to be successful in all their endeavors, and I want them to pursue excellence. Most importantly, I want to instill them with a sense of pride in whatever it is they choose to do, so that they understand the value of their work, and so that people know that they can be relied upon. In doing this, I place a piece of myself into them and their activities as an investment…I want to look upon their actions and see my lessons reflected in them, because that is the truest gauge of good parenting. Sports, in particular, offer instantaneous feedback on the lessons you teach your children. If you teach fair play and hard work, you’ll see it unfold before you as your child runs up and down the court or the field. If you teach perspective, you see it when your child loses, and even moreso when they win. These are the things that my children learn from their parents. But it seems like these lessons are growing more rare by the day.

This instance of the father protesting his son’s defeat isn’t new, and it isn’t even that bad when compared to measures taken by some other parents. I’m sure you’ve all heard the stories about parents physically assaulting coaches, referees, and other parents, sometimes to the extreme of actually attempting to kill them (or succeeding, in a few cases). By comparison to THOSE examples, tossing a kid like a sack of potatoes ain’t all that bad. But the thing is, it IS that bad. What are these parents teaching their children? Do they think the kids are savvy enough to turn a blind eye to their activities, saying “Oh, Dad’s just too into it”? Most of these kids aren’t mature enough to make that type of distinction between act and intent, especially when the act is committed by the single most influential person in their lives. Failure is not only an option; it’s a life requirement. We all HAVE to fail at some things, sometimes. It teaches us humility, it shows us our limitations, and it provides the proper perspective for when we actually succeed. Failure isn’t an abomination that we should shelter our kids from. They NEED to know that it’s always there, and that sooner or later they will experience it.

Last soccer season, 7YO’s soccer team went undefeated with one tie, and that tie was against a team in a higher division than they were in. Because this was his first time playing in organized sports, he naturally began believing that his team was unstoppable. This season he found out that his entire roster is returning, but that the team will likely be placed in a higher division this time, since they pretty much beat the monkeysnot out of everyone in the C class. Watching him win filled me with joy and pride, especially when he scored on a header in the tournament. Oh yes, I was proud as hell, full of “That’s my boy!” and “I taught him everything he knows!”. But as they approach this season, we both warned him that they may, and probably will, lose games this year. We want him to understand that defeat isn’t the end of the world, and that it will occur whether you’re prepared for it or not. Kids don’t understand this, and apparently a lot of parents don’t, either.

I think the biggest reason why these incidents keep happening is that the parents are placing too much pressure on the kids to perform, in the hopes that they’ll become very, very good at that sport or activity. Why? Because it reflects positively on the parent, and in certain cases, can lead to financial gain. If you push your kid to be the best hockey player on the high school team, then that means maybe scouts from major colleges will come check him out and perhaps offer a scholarship, which could possibly lead to professional hockey down the road. Therefore, if Coach Nobody decides to bench Junior for being late to practice or (God forbid) not being quite as good as Johnny, you see YOUR future circling the drain like the last soap sud in the tub. You might just react negatively to that, because maybe then you can’t live in the reflected glow of your child’s stardom. Another reason this happens is by parents living vicariously through their kids. Say you played a little football in high school, but you weren’t good enough to get a scholarship, or maybe not good enough to go pro. Suddenly you’ve got a son who is a dynamo with the football. You see an opportunity for him to do things you couldn’t do…to be someone you couldn’t be. So you push him. You want him to taste that life you wanted, if only so that you can get a taste yourself. Anything that impedes that golden path is seen as a threat. That’s wrong.

I would like to think that if either of my sons show an aptitude at a sport or activity that propels them to greater performances, I’d have my head on straight about their success. There are things I would’ve loved to have done at their age – but I didn’t. I can’t force them to lead a life I maybe might’ve could’ve possibly perhaps have had, anymore than I can put a turtle in the desert and call it a camel. I just hope this alarming trend corrects itself soon, for the sake of the children it affects. I’ll always have my sons’ backs.

I’ll just make sure I have their backs from as far back as I can.