Let me just say from the start: when my kids play basketball or any sport, for that matter, I want their team to win. I also want them to do well and it feels good when they are the ones who score the winning goal or basket or do something spectacular for the team that causes the other parents to pat me on the back or throw me a big celebratory grin.
But, I don’t enjoy the Brat Pack: the 7 Parent Archetypes that seem to be at every sports tournament or game.
- The Al Bundy
The Al Bundy was convinced he was an athlete in his prime. He struts on the field or onto the court (often wearing a too-tight Under Armour t-shirt) as if people may still recognize him. He will find a way to mention that he used to “play a little ball back in his day.” He swears he could have gone pro or made it to the “next level” absent the injury, unfair coach, or other circumstance that unfairly held him back. Woulda, coulda, shoulda – the truth usually is he just wasn’t that good.
This guy was more of the band/chess club type in high school, but has a son or daughter who is athletic. All of things he felt he missed out on in school will be experienced now—dagonne it! He tapes and attends every event, wears the paraphernalia. This is HIS time…finally! He lives and dies with each basket, goal and game – and it is clear he is more interest in his “shine” than his kid’s.
- Even Steven
This Dad has conveniently forgotten that every travel sport is a competitive, talent-based endeavor. He still is living in the world of five and six year old sports and is still convinced that his son or daughter should play the same amount of time as everyone else event though his son or daughter isn’t as good as the other kids. His kid is miserable because even he knows his place on the team and doesn’t want to play as much because ultimately the entire team just wants to win.
This Dad is rich and is used to getting what he wants. He tries to buy his kid a spot on the team/ a particular position/ or more playing time. His kid has every piece of gear, private trainer and gym membership that money can buy. He also whines, complains and throws tantrums throughout games when the referee dare make calls that go against his child or team.
- Big Daddy
Without a doubt this Dad’s child is going to be a sports star and you should treat him and his child accordingly. The whole family has invested in junior and sees him as the ticket to a better life. Accordingly, the sport takes precedence over everything (homework, social events, school activities) and everyone (other family, friends). All of these sacrifices will be worth it on draft night (that 99.9% of the time will never come). They take up entire sections at sporting events. They are loud and proud. There is arrogance there –as if the contract has already been signed.
- Coach K
Why do we have a coach when we have this parent? This parent feels as if he knows better than the coach. He sits on the sidelines yelling out plays, disagreeing with plays that the coach makes, and most importantly, screaming to put his child in. When the child does get put in, he yells at junior to tell him exactly what he should be doing – at every moment – regardless of whether that aligns with what the ACTUAL coach wants the kid or team to do.
- Attila the Hun
You just feel sorry for the Attila the Hun’s kids. He yells at her/him throughout the entire game for every mistake. You know that a punishment is connected with performance in that household.
I guess as long as there are sports, there will be the brat pack. On a positive note, oftentimes, the show in the stands put on by these parents rivals the shows on the courts.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more