Tag Archives: Little Kids

Don’t Be That Guy

So, over the weekend, Barry was at his youngest daughter’s soccer game at the local Y. All set for an afternoon of fun and laughs, he nearly had his weekend spoiled by That Guy. You dudes know him. Here, let Barry explain.

That dad was there. The one no one wants to stand or sit next to. He’s the guy who’s screaming so loudly and so angrily that you’d think his livelihood was on the line and if one of his players messed up, he’d be out on the streets begging for scraps with which he’d bait his rat traps so he could eat.

I wanted to confront him. I really did.

At first, I only watched him scream and hurl invective at his players. Odds are, his little girl is not going to be the next Brandi Chastain or Hope Solo. All he accomplished with the yelling was looking like a bit of an ass and, more than likely although I’m pretty much guessing here, pushing his daughter away.

Fortunately, someone, his wife I think, tapped him on the arm to get his attention. They spoke for a bit. He didn’t look happy, but he did quiet down. A little. Enough so I could almost enjoy the game.

These are the guys that really drive me nuts. It’s as if they’re trying desperately to relive their own childhoods, address whatever sporting inadequacies they once had and correct them by making their child do what they couldn’t. This is no different than the Pop Warner football coach who’s trying to create a dynasty in 11-and-under football so he kicks off the kids who have never played before so he can stock his team with winners.

Youth sports is supposed to be just that: for the youth. These little dudes and little dudettes are joining a soccer team, or a basketball team, or baseball team or lacrosse, or whatever, so they can learn about the sport, exercise and have fun, and enjoy the company of their peers. It’s not so a dad can coach, imagining each night that he’s Vince Lombardi.

Once I had one of those dads on my daughter’s kindergarten soccer team. His tiny, tiny little girl was playing up a year, meaning she was a year younger than everyone else on any of the teams, and he just would not shut up. He yelled at his daughter all the time, completely undermining her confidence and actually making her cry. This went on for like three games until finally I snapped.

I got between him and the field and told him to shut his trap. He look at me dumbfounded and asked what he’d done. Right behind me his child was balling. I gestured at the poor kid out there sobbing and said, “Think about it. You know what you are doing.”

He looked me and his lip started to quiver. A grandfather of another girl came over and started chatting him up. Distracting him. The other moms gave me the thumbs up. He never came to another game. His wife brought their daughter to every practice and game after that. He developed into a great little player and actually scored a goal once.

I never said anything to his wife but she sat right next to me at the end of yet party and we talked about how awesome her little girl was. He sat across the room.

I didn’t tell that story so everyone could hear how awesome I am standing up for little kids. (although he is) I told it to you as an example of sorts.

Sometimes we get carried away, caught up in an exciting event and we can forget that the kids for whom we’re cheering are only little kids. And sometimes we don’t understand, in our excitement, that we’re doing more harm than good. And sometimes we need someone to step up and point a few things out. And sometimes, we have to be the one to do the stepping.

Either way, we all need to remember that youth sports are for the youth. Let’s let them have fun.

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Summer Safety 2

by Richard

And we’re back. Back with more summer safety tips. Don’t spend them all in one place. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Don’t bet the number five horse in the third race at the Aqueduct.

Wait. Sorry. Not those kind of tips. More like the ones below.

Myth: You won’t get sunburned on a cloudy day.

Adam: Wise up, folks. You certainly can get a severe sunburn on a cloudy day. I know this from experience. And from scientific study. But it’s the painful experience that really stuck with me. Overcast weather cuts down on the light, but not on the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn.

Fact: Pediatricians recommend wearing UV-blocking clothing or, if you’re going to wear a swimsuit or such, wear sunblock that takes care of UV-A and UV-B rays. Sunscreen should be put on at least 30 minutes before you go out into the sun to allow it time to be absorbed into the skin. Where it will, you know, block out the sun’s UV rays.

Myth: Arm floaties will make a little dude or dudette perfectly safe in the water.

Jamie: Ah, no. Not at all. In fact, it even says that on every pack of floaties. They’re for fun. They’re not rescue or floatation devices. They just look cute.

Fact: If you’re unsure of your little one’s swimming ability, get them an actual life vest. Many public pools have them for use and these devices really are designed to prevent drowning. You should also stay very close to the little dude or dudette and stay in the shallow end. All good safety precautions.

Myth: You can safely leave the little ones alone in the pool for just a quick second while you answer the door or get a drink.

Grant: Again, no. Not at all. It’s just like having a baby in the bath. You don’t ever leave them alone in the bath, you shouldn’t leave little kids alone in the pool. Same principle, only with a lot more water and a lot more danger.

Fact: Stay with the kids. You’ve got caller ID and call waiting. You can always call back to talk about how satisfied you are with your long-distance service at another time.

Myth: Summer is a great time to play with your kids.

Well, actually, that last one isn’t really a myth at all. The longer hours of daylight give us all a bit more time to roll around in the grass, toss the baseball or go slay some dragons on the PS3. Whatever. You’ve got an opportunity to have some safe fun with your little dudes. Don’t pass it up.

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A Day For Dressing Up

by Richard

This morning, say around 0845, the Jones family is going to go through a bit of a change. See, Speed Racer, the youngest of the three little dudes, will be walking across an improvised stage at his local elementary school as he bids good-bye to the little ones and hello to middle school.

Yes, Speed Racer is graduating from elementary school. And doing so wearing a button-down dress shirt, nice pants, nice shoes, an actual belt and a real tie. Now that’s dressing up.

I’m seeing this as a time for reflection and quiet, hidden tears. The last of our little dudes is growing up and moving on. No more hanging around the school and helping out in the classroom just so I can fly the family flag and let him know someone, somewhere (mostly likely his dad) has a gimlet eye focused firmly on his behind.

I find that fear is a marvelous way to focus the mind.

When the little dude moves on to middle school instilling that fear is going to be a lot harder for us old dudes. I guess we’ll just have to up the intimidation and scare tactics at home. Did I mention that I’m supposed to be a child-rearing expert of some sort?

While Speed Racer is jumping-out-of-his-skin excited about the prospect of moving on and getting away from the, in his words, “little kids,” I’m feeling just a tiny bit maudlin. It’s hard to watch your little dudes grow up and take a few more steps along the way toward independence.

I find that I’m missing those things that — at the time — used to drive me nuts. No more holding hands as we cross a parking lot. No more father-son nap time. (I think I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.) No more reading together before he heads to bed. No more silly questions. Well, actually, I think that one is pretty much going to stay with us for a while. After all, he is my son, so silly questions do come with the package. As do silly answers, but I’m sure he’ll figure that one out in time.

Congratulations, Speed Racer, on getting out of elementary school alive and happy. You’re a good little dude.

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