I was pretty nuts about basketball between the ages of 12-18. It was really my source of self-worth through being "good" at something. I wanted to be known and stand apart from the crowd. I learned quickly at a young age that if you were good at sports people would like you and respect you. I wanted that. I poured myself into basketball. It became a job and eventually a chore.
God eventually spared me from playing college basketball (through a couple of freak injuries in high school) and my heart quickly turned toward music. There is much more that I could write concerning this season of my life, but that'll have to wait for another post.
When I was heavy in the basketball culture in high school, sometimes I would get paid to referee games for junior high boys. Without fail at these games there would always be one or two "Psycho Sports Dads". You all have seen these guys. They froth at the mouth every minute their son or daughter is involved in the game and continually ride the refs and/or the coach if things are not going the way they like. They like to linger around during practice just to make sure everything is fair and done correctly (from their point of view).
These types of Dads always used to get on my nerves big-time when I was refereeing. So many times I wanted to just stop the game and announce to the over-bearing Dad, "If you want to come down here and do my job for me, then go right ahead". I never had the guts to do it, but dreamed of that scenario in my mind many times. These Dads fail to understand that with young kids, if you call everything just like the rule book says, no activity will actually take place since the kids are not skilled enough yet to play the game correctly and fluidly.
I vowed to myself when my first son was born that I would not be a "Psycho Sports Dad".
One of the neighbor boys (age 10) came over to our house today to play with Taylor (age 6). They went out back and started to shoot some hoops. I suggested that they play H-O-R-S-E. Taylor didn't know how to play and I don't think the other kid knew either. I taught them quickly the rules and off they went.
I noticed in my soul a strong desire for my son Taylor to completely rip the heart out of the neighbor boy. Crush his spirit, break his will, make him bleed and send him home in tears! I was throwing out nice phrases to both boys like, "Good shot", "Good try", and "You'll get it next time!", but deep down I wanted complete domination, annihilation, and destruction from Taylor. Beat him down and make him beg for mercy!!!
Where were these feeling coming from?!? Could it be that I'm on my way to being the next "Psycho Sports Dad"? May it never be!
Ok, this is quite exaggerated to be sure, but I did notice these feelings creeping in on me in much more subtle ways. I once heard someone say that very rational people quickly become very irrational when it comes to their kids. I'm sure this could very easily happen to me in the area of sports with my kids.
Any advice from older Dads out there on how to keep yourself in line when it comes to sports and your kids?
P.S. - If you want to see Taylor and I in action you can watch one of our competitions here: