Saturday, October 25, 2008


A week ago, I attended my son’s soccer tournament. As I was photographing what I thought was the action, I was distracted by the parents on the sideline. The opposing team had the loudest parents I have ever heard at any youth game...EVER. Even their clothing shouted - with slogans about winning. At times, their screaming was mean-spirited. My son is 11-years-old. This was not the World Cup finals.

I turned my attention (and camera) to the spectators. I found I couldn’t take my eyes off them because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. After I fired off a few frames, one of the loudest parents looked at me and shouted proudly, “Hey, look, now WE’RE being photographed!! They didn’t know who I was. My camera equipment is not common. I probably looked like I was working the game. I began to wonder if my camera’s presence would change their behavior. I dismissed that thought when another parent shouted for all to hear, “Hey! We’re the most obnoxious parents out here, AND I’M PROUD OF THAT!.... I fired off a few more frames. He looked around at his fellow parents for approval. They were silent. One by one, they began sitting down…slinking into their folding chairs.

One of the unexpected things I’ve learned as a parent is that I am always teaching. When I am at my best, I am teaching my son. When I am at my worst, I am teaching that, too. We do not need teaching certificates to teach children.

I’m trying to get this parenting thing right. And I need all the help I can get. I am not smart enough to think of everything on my own. Sometimes I need reminders of what not to do.

This day, I was reminded. Loud and clear.


Ron said...

If only those parents would be just as hard on their kids on other things in life, America (and the world) would probably be a better place. It's funny how serious they are when it comes to sports, but I'm wondering if they're just as tough when it comes to hard work, spiritual beliefs, respect, etc.

And good job turning the lens on the parents and giving us a twist on this tale...makes for an interesting essay topic...Do you think they might've been trying to get your attention by being loud?

Dan Denardo said...

Ron, I don't think they were trying to get my attention. I happened to see them in action at a previous game when there were no cameras around. I believe they were being themselves.

Razz said...

Perhaps the result should have been that the parents on the other team should have been as enthusiastically supportive as your team parents were. Loud is not wrong. Had everyone been singing in beautiful harmony, louder would have been better. Perhaps this is where are focus should be, less discordance (obnoxiousness) more harmony.

Dan Denardo said...

Your excellent comment reminded me of a cross country meet I attended a couple weeks ago. One team's coach was cheering wildly for his team AND each and every other kid out there. More harmony...I like that.