Dude, it's only second-grade basketball . . .

Dude, it's only second-grade basketball . . .

There has been a lot said and written about horrible youth sports parents. Just recently, former NBA player Matt Barnes allegedly told a high school student announcing a game between Harvard-Westlake and Crespi Carmelite High School — where the small forward’s son plays — that he’d slap the sh*t out of him.

And sadly, in my home state of New Jersey, one of the RHONJ husbands was kicked out of his son’s wrestling match after arguing with the ref.

But it’s even more sickening when a youth football coach in St. Louis is shot by a parent upset over their child’s playing time.

USA Today Sports Editor Stephen Borelli wrote about overzealous sports parents in this USA Today article from October. The headline: Sports parents are out of control and officials don’t feel safe. Here’s what’s at risk.

“I’m a KID,” read one sign I encountered at a youth baseball tournament several years ago. “My coach is a VOLUNTEER … The officials are HUMAN … NO college scholarships will be handed out today.”

So with all of this as a backdrop, my ex-wife signed our son up to play basketball this winter. He’s in second grade. Last year, the town we live in offered only a clinic. This year, the kids would be able to participate in “competitive” league play.

But the turnout wasn’t great. There were only enough kids to field three teams. And these three teams would have to face each other twice a week.

There was also a dearth of coaches, leading my ex to volunteer. Since I would already be at all the games, and since I had previously coached my son in other sports, I decided I’d help out as well.

Now, a reminder: This is second-grade basketball we are talking about. These kids are 7 and 8. It is generous to say that they are still learning the basics.

And it’s painful to watch, let alone coach. Low-scoring games. (How do you like a 4-4 tie?) Little to no defense. Shots being chucked from all distances, many not even coming close to hitting the rim. Kids swarming whoever has the ball — even their own teammates at times. Listening skills gone out the window. And of course, all the double dribbles, travels and other minor infractions.

However, you come to expect that. And, really, that’s half the fun. If the ref — generally a high school student — is going to call everything, then those 20-minute games are gonna last an eternity. Leniency is necessary as this is the first time these kids are playing basketball as an organized sport.

But don’t tell that to this one coach roaming the sidelines. He’s standing on the court, nearly obstructing the action, yelling at the teenage ref.

He could be heard — loudly — begging for calls and reacting histrionically when they didn’t go his team’s way.

“How did he not call that?”

“Double dribble! Double dribble!”

“That’s a reach! That’s a reach!”

Then he throws up his hands in disgust, or turns to the people at the scorer’s table, thinking he has their sympathy.

No, sorry, pal, they’re sick of your sh*t — you’ve done it all season long.

But this guy has an excuse, in his mind: It’s his son’s team, so of course he’s fired up. This is what coaches do, he says, look to get calls their way.

Meanwhile, every other coach — whose kids are also on their respective teams — is offering up encouragement, or reminding players to put their hands up while on defense. And just generally letting their children enjoy whatever level of athletic execution they are capable of, in the name of some good cardiovascular activity.

We’re not begging for calls or treating our kid like he’s a superstar. It’s second-grade basketball, dude. I don’t think BetMGM or DraftKings has lines on these contests.

Then again, this is the same guy who texted me during flag football games asking why his son wasn’t getting more carries.

But this is not anything new. You’ll find parents like this across various sports, at various levels, in various states.

As for the dad who made a scene at every one of our games, who happens to be a cop, and he thought he’d smooth things over by . . . handing out a PBA card to the teen running the scoreboard.

Original source here

#Dude #itx27s #secondgrade #basketball

About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.