North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

May 30, 2013

Danielle Cater: You have to give respect to receive it

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

AN NJN EDITORIAL — Since most sports are coming to a close, it’s probably safe to write a column about “park moms.” That’s right, it’s about time someone said something about the craziness that takes over when a child begins to play park ball.

My daughters played ball for three years and I never experienced the crazy “park mom” sensation in myself, but I have seen it take over many women who didn’t seem to be able to control themselves.

I got the honor of coaching a tee-ball team for two years, and that was enough to let me know that hanging out at the park all week was not where I wanted to be. After a long day of work, the last thing I wanted to do was sit on hard, metal bleachers or try to coach a herd of 3-year-olds around the bases. But for many moms, this is their favorite pastime. They prefer going to the park over almost anything else in their lives if it involves their child excelling in the sport.

I understand that parents give up a lot of their time and money in order for their children to play ball, and perhaps that is why they seem to act like an insane person when game time rolls around.

It is quite hilarious to sit back and watch as children as young as 4 and 5 years old, try to discover the ins and outs of this sport while their parents are yelling at them to the top of their lungs, “Run home!” or “Go to first!” I think all normal thinking gets thrown out the window when their children step up to the plate. And yes mom, that probably was a strike, but you couldn’t see it because you look at this game through “mom-colored” glasses. If the ump calls your precious Timmy out, then he was probably out. And even if he wasn’t, what are you teaching your child by yelling at the umpire like a wild woman and losing your mind over it?

It really is sad to watch parents tell off an official at a game and then turn right around and expect their child to respect authority in the home or at school. They learn respect from watching you. So if you go crazy on someone in authority over your children right in front of them, then expect them to react the same way when you try to discipline them at home.

It stands to reason that we have disrespectful children because they are being raised by disrespectful parents. Your testimony is on the line every time you raise your voice at an umpire, or every time you yell at the first base coach for sending your kid on to second base. Respect works both ways. You need to give respect to get respect and that means that you even have to give respect to the official at the local baseball game. They are going to get calls wrong because they are human. The coach is going to make the wrong call and Timmy might get thrown out at third base. And believe it or not, Timmy is going to mess up in the game sometimes. These are the times that you can stand up, and shut up. Don’t go on a yelling rampage and bring a lot of attention to yourself and embarrass your child. Give them the same respect you expect to receive.

It might shock the people around you who are used to hearing you bless out the official after every third play, but it will definitely speak volumes about you getting a better testimony. “Even a child is known by his doings.” So even a parent is known by their reactions.

Chill out and remember, it really is just a game.