Usually at this time of the year I make out a Christmas wish list for area coaches or come up with some other Christmas-related column. I even wrote a poem last year inspired by Twas the Night Before Christmas.
This year, I wanted to do something a little different. I want to say thank you to a certain group of people.
Last week, I had a long talk with a parent of a local athlete. That talk got me thinking about all the time, hard work, dedication and love that goes into being a parent of a young athlete.
In the past, I have written a few columns berating parents for overstepping their bounds when dealing with their children’s athletic careers.
While that problem certainly exists, I like to think those parents belong to a small minority. Most parents in our community do it the “right” way. They support their children, their teams, their coaches and their schools.
They drive on long road trips and pitch in at the concession when needed. They hurt when their child suffers a stinging defeat, or give money when the team has a need.
A lot of times we focus on the parents who act poorly. They sit in the stands and bad-mouth the coaching staff to whoever will listen, or the ones who carry it even further and try to dictate how the team will be coached. Well, for every one of “those” parents, there are 20 others who show up, cheer the wins and console after losses.
The parent I spoke to talked about the rides home after games with his son and how he cherishes those times, and he joked that with his son graduating he might miss high school football more than his kid. He won’t necessarily miss the football, but he’ll miss the time they spent together because of football.
He also mentioned to me that he had contacted his son’s coach just twice during his high school career; one of those calls was after the season had ended to thank him for coaching his son.
You see, we tend to focus on the “bad” parents, because the “good” ones do not call attention to themselves.
Most of you know I respect and appreciate everything coaches do. They work too many hours for too little pay. They have to deal with those “bad” parents I mentioned, and they do it because they love working with young people. Well, this holiday season, I wanted to let all of the supportive parents of young athletes know they are appreciated, too.