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How to Spot and Survive Fanatical Sports Parents

By Keri Kelly

1. Second Chance Star

Older than Babe Ruth, this parent’s life revolves around sports. When talking about his or her athletic spawn, pronouns like ‘we and us’ are often used. Many are seen with various braces, casts, and splints from failed attempts at weekend-warrior glory. To spot a SCS, look for parents who are always hitting, shooting, throwing, and/or kicking balls with or without their spawn. Playing with kids might be optional, but bragging is not.

2. Wanna Be

The opposite of Second Chance Star, this nonathletic parent never made a team, but they wanted to. Bad. But unlike the SCSs, they won’t dare play and show off their lack of skills. Instead, he or she will brag endlessly about his or her kid to anyone who will listen. They will also cheer loudly for their child and post any and all positive athletic attempts on social media. This is an attempt to trick others into thinking their kid has talent. Genetically impossible.

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3. Prize Fighters

These parents always think the world is out to get his or her kid and can be overheard complaining incessantly. They yell at umpires, coaches, parents, and anyone else who might upset their precious darling. If police are present at a game, Prize Fighters are usually to blame.

4. Control Freak

A close cousin to the Prize Fighters, Control Freaks have learned over time to conceal their paranoid anger. If a CF is the coach’s best friend, he or she will work behind the scenes to make sure the team is running smoothly, smashing and discarding anyone who disagrees with the coach. If a CF is against the coach, watch out. He or she will persuade other parents to turn against the coach, eventually ruining the poor sucker’s reputation and/or replacing him or her.

5. Camouflaged Control Freak

Even crazier than the CF, this parent’s motto is ‘I know my kid can’t hit a beach ball with a tennis racket, but I’m quietly working behind the scenes to make sure my kid succeeds’. These parents volunteer to run the snack stand or lead fundraisers, eventually weaseling their way onto sports’ boards. CCFs also pretend that it’s all about sportsmanship and equal play. It’s not. The goal is to make sure their child rises up the ladder. Always.

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6. Professional Youth Coach

This ‘win at all costs’ parent will do whatever it takes to raise a first-place trophy over his or her head. They’re easy to spot by their wardrobe – team gear, preferably championship ensembles embroidered with ‘Coach’. Kids will cry, heads will roll, but he or she will prevail because it’s all about winning.

7. Popularity Prince or Princess

He or she doesn’t care about anything except being liked by the kids, parents, and/or coaches. They’re easy to spot since they’re usually pulling coolers full of water, Gatorade, and oranges behind them. Posts on Instagram or Facebook include messages like ‘I love these kids’ and ‘I’m so proud of the team’, or even ‘Great kids, great parents’. Like sweet candy, these parents are sickening.

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8. Bold Face Liar

He or she claims that his or her child sucks. However, most of the time, the BFL’s kid is the best athlete on the team. These parents sit in the stands and complain endlessly about their child while waiting for other parents to disagree and remind him or her of their child’s athletic greatness. When their child makes a mistake, this parent will mumble something horrible, waiting for a rebuttal. It’s all about the positive reinforcement. Think Pavlov’s dog.

9. Rah Rah

This is usually a mom, but can be a dad. He or she doesn’t understand the game she or he is watching, but will wear her child’s jersey and any other gear available and cheer for everyone. Although at first, they might seem harmless, their incessant cheering may harm your hearing.

10. Loner

It’s tough to find these rare gems because they’re usually far, far away from the action. Look for these parents huddled inside cars or seated on cloth chairs in center field, empty bleachers, and/or places parents don’t normally cohabitate. They’re sick and tired of the game, and they’re not referring to the one happening out on the field.

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About the Author

Keri Kelly is an award winning author of romantic comedies and the young adult sports’ series, prettyTOUGH. She also teaches comedy writing at Rowan University.