Well, a somewhat reformed crazy parent I have to admit. Quick story to set the stage. When I coached my daughter in 5th grade I remember a moment that we both will probably remember for a long time (unfortunately). We had been playing a tough team and the score was 14 to 12, we’re losing, with 30 seconds to go in the 4th. We have the ball, pushing up court, my daughter passes the ball inside, her friend scores! Tie score!!! Woohooo!!!, high fives ensue on the court, both my daughter and her friend wander up the court, laughing talking smiling, while the opposing team inbounds the ball, races full court for the layup. We lose at the buzzer. Our 0 and 8 record is preserved. Frustration sets in…
Let’s just say that the car ride home is one I regret to this day. I was mad. I told her so. She felt badly, cried. Not good. I felt badly about it later. Spoke with my wife and sister about it. My wife basically said “what the F is wrong with you!” My sister said, “That reminds me of the times you came home with Dad in the car and we’d wait to see how the game went. If it went well Dad was in a good mood, if not he, let’s just say wasn’t…” I do remember those car rides to this day. Hence, I realized history was repeating itself and I subsequently stopped that bad habit.
One interesting note, an article in the WSJ a few years ago interviewed a number of professional athletes and when asked what was the least fun memory from youth sport participation. The majority said “the car ride home with Dad after the game…” Yikes!!! That can’t be good. Did that car ride help em? Did it hurt em? Could it have been done differently? I think so.
I also wondered why would I or others get so worked up at a basketball game. One of my friends said “you know, part of it that sits in the back of everyone’s mind is the fear of the college costs that are rapidly approaching…” hence, a college basketball scholarship would be optimal! 🙂
Some ideas I’ve collected from friends over the years.
1 – I have one friend who said “I have a 24 hr. cooling off period after the game” they don’t talk about the game. They are both cut from the same cloth, fiery personalities, both of em. They ride home in the car in silence, he sleeps on it, emotions fade overnight, can think more clearly the next day. They have a much more civil conversation, sans emotion.
2 – I now always ask after a game “do you want some feedback?” in a low key voice. Funny thing is, first time I tried this my daughter said “only if it’s GOOD!” We both laughed. I always lead with positives, “you did a great job on rebounds, wow. You also had some nice blocks. Anything you noticed you could improve on?” Try to keep it positive, some areas for improvement noted. All good.
3 – Another friend told me a good one he uses. APE = Appreciate, Praise, Encourage. I try to do this as much as I can. “I know it’s tough, life’s tough. You’re doing really good things…keep driving forward and good things will happen…”
4 – Ice cream solves all. After good and bad games we always try to go for something, D&D, Starbs, ice cream, whatever. Seems to help us keep things in perspective. What’s it all for. Come on now. This isn’t life or death. Love them no matter what. All good.
If you’re a crazy parent recognize it, first step, “hello my name is Kelty”…”Hi Kelty” “I’m recovering since 5th grade…” ;-)) If all else fails, “use duct tape…” another suggestion from a good friend.