"Mean people suck"? Or maybe it was a bumper sticker. I don't remember. Anyway, my experience today at the little league ballpark brings that slogan to mind.
I know people the world over experience this very same thing - some parents take their kids' sports sooooooooo seriously or they are overly competitive or whatever. It really bothers me when folks take it too far. It's a GAME. Not only that, they are KIDS. The kids in question today are 8, 9 and 10 year olds. We're not talking major leagues here, people.
J's game today was a big one. His team was in first place by half a game, but they had to play the team in second place, which also happens to be the only team to have beaten them this entire season. Unfortunately they had our number again and ended up winning 11-8. We held our own against them, though, and went into the last inning ahead 8-6. Our team went downhill fast and their team came alive right at the end, and the result was a win for them.
I'd like to think I'm not a sore loser. I can be competitive just like everyone else, but I like to encourage the kids no matter what, and I'm just thrilled that our boys have done so well this year (a 10-3 record is nothing to scoff at). Honestly, though, this loss made me sick. I was a nervous wreck the entire time because it was such a close game and so much was on the line (winner pretty much wraps up 1st place and a playoff spot). The fact that we lost doesn't hurt as much as WHO we lost to.
The parents/fans/coaches of this other team were obnoxious. The head coach is arrogant and rude (although he plays "nicest guy alive" off the field), the fans were chanting and dancing in the stands... you would have thought we were at the little league World Series. At one point even one of THEIR coaches had had enough & he left the dugout to go sit in the stands - that's how awful the head coach is. He and his wife were accusing us of things that were untrue, he yelled at the other coach and talked rudely about his players (loud enough that the players could hear). I told hubby as long as J keeps playing, he needs to keep coaching so we don't end up on a team like that.
Our boys played such a great game and put their hearts and souls into it. They came off the field in tears. We all wanted it sooooooo much. I think it just rubs salt in our wounds that we had to lose a big game to a team like that. When the adults ruin it for everyone else, there's something wrong.
On a side note, I am so proud of J. Ever since he was hit in the face by a pitch, he's been a little skittish up at bat. Today he had to face the pitcher who hit him. He struck out, but he stuck in there, didn't back out, and put in a good try swinging at decent pitches. I know he had to be so nervous and have what happened last time he faced this kid in the back of his mind. His second at-bat he faced a different pitcher, but another great, fast pitcher, and he made contact. The fielder caught the fly ball, but I'm so glad that he hung in there and had two quality at-bats when he was probably scared spitless.
The Royals have two more games this season and I hope they hold their heads up high and go out on a winning note! (And boooooooooooooo to the Rangers!)