I participated in sports in the 1980s—the Golden Era of sports when kids piled into the back of a station wagon, seatbeltless to travel to meets, and parents did little more than pay team fees and dues.
Nowadays, parents are more hands on. And by "hands on," I actually mean completely intolerable and obnoxious. If your children are in organized sports, you know what I mean. Do you recognize these types of parents from your kids' sporting events (or are you one of them?!):
1. The One-Upper
Your kid has tendinitis? Her kid had a full shoulder replacement! Your child scored three goals? One time her kid scored EIGHT—in one game! You show up to the game with a cold? She is heading into hospice care when it's over.
2. The Motivator
He's a Tony Robbins/Ray Lewis hybrid, psyching up the little athletes and over-motivating them to do their best. They're reaching for the stars, aiming high, giving 110 percent, never quitting, and leaving it all on the field.
3. The Has Been
You can spot her because she shows up in her high school letter jacket and wears a finisher medal from the 1993 Turkey Trot 5k. She used to play this sport, and man, was she good. Did you think that point was skillful? She used to do that all the time—all day long.
4. The College Scout
This parent rarely terrorizes other parents. He's too busy keeping track of his kid's stats, checking opponents' stats, and making recruiting videos that feature his kid, Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise," and phrases flying across the screen like "The next Deion Sanders!" (Even though his kid is playing soccer in the video.) When he's not at the game, he's emailing the coach about his kid's chances for a college scholarship and asking for letters of recommendation. It gets even worse after elementary school.
5. The Anger Management Grad
She doesn't have an anger problem because she went to therapy, for a few days. And her therapist told her it's her ex-husband's fault. You wouldn't believe what he put her through. And, her kid's teacher is horrible. Make sure your daughter doesn't end up in his class. Meanwhile, she screams at everyone. That play was definitely unfair; her kid was robbed; and "Olivia, why did you do that? You're grounded when you get home!!!!!"
6. The "Coach"
He coached the high school team four years ago and can't do it anymore because he doesn't have time. But, he would do a much better job than his kid's team coach, and here's how and why everything that's happening on the field is so wrong and messed up. He also records the games and offers free analysis afterwards. If the team really wanted to win, they'd stop doing it wrong, according to him. If the actual coach is doing a decent job, the "Coach" can morph into the "Referee" without missing a beat.
7. The Excuser
He's the 5'3" dad at the basketball game that lets everyone know that when little Jaxon hits his growth spurt, he'll be dunking like Michael Jordan. And, Jaxon is a little off today because he only had one bowl of cereal for breakfast.
8. The Interrogator
She's new to volleyball but really wants to get up to speed fast. The only time she's not asking questions is when she's live posting about the game on social media, stringing together sportsy words that don't make much sense. Otherwise, it's nonstop, "When they bat it over the net and the other one over there taps it, do the points happen then or after?"
9. The Cult Member
The swim club isn't a team, it's a way of life. She prioritizes the team above her family and can't believe Liam's family left the team to swim for another club. (That team has some serious character issues, obviously.) Thankfully, the cult member is usually not around other parents because she's busy recruiting and volunteering in every way she possibly can.
10. The Homeopath
His kid only eats grain-free, protein-free, pesticide-free, calorie-free food and only runs barefoot. He likes to remind you that the snack your kid is eating is full of GMOs and corn syrup; it's making him hyperactive; and he's probably behind in school, right? His wife sells natural cleanses in the parking lot after the game because your gut is toxic.
11. The Self-Distracter
This guy is the one wandering around the game with a portable container filled with Mountain Dew and vodka while playing Bejeweled Blitz on his phone. His goal is to be able to say at work tomorrow, "I went to my kid's soccer game" without lying.