Supporting Your Team, By Gender

My little kid nephews play little kid sports, and I do an okay job of supporting them by going out to their games on the weekend. I always bring a book — not because it'd otherwise bore the crap out of me, though there is a lot of dead time to fill. I read to avoid getting too wrapped up or twisted up in the game, which is a serious danger. Shit gets tense, and people totally can't help it. The anxiety builds and builds, and suddenly you realize that the level of emotional turmoil you're undergoing is a little bit inappropriate.

The way the games run, you get to the court or field while the other teams are finishing up and your kids hop on once the final bell sounds. In that fashion, I've seen the finishes to a number of games in a number of different leagues, and it's led me to believe that the parents behave a million times worse in girls sports than they do in boys. On their feet, screaming themselves hoarse, totally wild behavior. The standard for basic decency at a game (IMO) is that you should only be yelling encouragement or congratulations. These are 10, 12 year old kids, and the refs aren't going to make every call. Maybe they'll let some shit slide. How the hell would anyone think it's appropriate to be like "Travel! Travel! TRRAAAAVELL!" in that situation? The parents don't just coach their kids during the game, they coach the coach, like "BRYAN! BRYAN! SWITCH TO ZONE DEFENSE!"

My friend whose daughters play softball says that things are the same there, and that the coaches are the worst ones. A lot of tantrums, whining and complaining to the umpires, and then comic sulks when things don't go their way. Absolutely horrible examples. It's not uncommon for me to see a basketball game end with a coach getting a technical for throwing a fit. Maybe for a high school game it's okay for everyone to lose their respective gourds, but the reaction here is just totally inverse to the stakes. I don't know why things seem so different between the genders, but a lot of shit you'd think would make the whole stands whip around like WTF goes completely unremarked upon.