Spectators who should know better

2008-07-23 00:00

Do you remember anything about the sports events that you took part in at school? All those hockey, soccer, rugby and netball matches. All those athletics days and swimming galas. Do you recall much? Anything at all? Depending on your experiences of school sport, perhaps you’d rather not remember much. I remember very little even though I played first team sport.

However, I’m most bemused by parents who behave as though their very identity is at stake in a game of sport played by seven-year-olds. You’ve seen the ones I mean, stalking the sidelines like the coach of a big-name league team and yelling instructions at their hapless offspring. This behaviour is not restricted to fathers, either. Some mothers are out there patrolling the sidelines too, as if their life is the small white ball being chased by a mêlée of little girls with big sticks. Maybe that’s precisely the point: fathers trying to live vicariously through their sons, mothers investing too much of their lives in their daughters. I suspect that parents who harass their children when they are seven could end up turning their attention on the referee when those children are in high school.

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