My 9 year old is in a little basketball league.  We signed her up because she seems interested in basketball and the group running it stated it was to help girls learn the rules of the game, learn about playing other teams and preparing them for being on a highschool team in the future.

The build self-esteem, encourage, prepare mom in me thought this sounded great and I signed her up.  She got a T-shirt with a number on the back.  She got her own ball.  She was a happy camper.  Her coach encouraged while teaching and pushing.  I was happy.

Until game day.  The first game was great.  All these 3rd and 4th grade girls, so proud to be playing a game, cheering for each other, accidentally shooting the basket and the opponents hoop…The second game is when things changed.

The coaches, yes plural, of the “blue” team were wild.  They paced, they yelled, they were in your face competitive show no mercy coaches.  Did I mention these are 3rd and 4th graders?  I was ready to pull Hanna off the court right then and there and be done with it.

So life goes on a few weeks pass and the team has a family pizza night before the high-school girls game.  They are so excited.  They all sit together in the bleachers ready to cheer on the Lady Wild Cats.  I was happy too, I was happy to see them so excited.

Then I noticed the man (the one who inspired this blog).  I am guessing late 40’s, not the athletic type, but sitting on the first bench of the bleachers, smack dab in the middle, micro managing the entire game.  He was not encouraging, cheering, praising, he was bossing.  He had taken on the role of “coach” in his head and was telling the team how it was done.

He seemed personally offended with every missed basket and stolen ball.  He actually yelled multiple times “Get the rebound!  You have to get the rebound!”  Now I am not a basketball expert.  I have one year of 7th grade ball under my belt (3 string, zero baskets made all season, and yes I realize I am tall, but my talents lie in reaching things from high places, not shooting hoops), but I think that “getting the rebound” is pretty common knowledge for these girls.  In fact, I saw them all there, under the hoop, arms reached high, doing just that.   But this random man, thinks that he needs to tell them this.

For some reason that just set me off.  Where do these people come from!  The ones who think that they, on the sidelines, have the expertise to tell the team and coach what to do.  And they usually present as personally offended when their obvious advice is not followed through on.  These people also like to tell the players how do play from their living room couches.

So I am going to have to survive basketball season with frantic, argumentative, micro managing, highly competitive people and match their negativity with my loving comments from the sidelines “Look at how generous you are sharing the ball with your opponent!” “How thoughtful to let the other team have an open shot!”  “Great job getting super close to the hoop!”

See how much better it is to have a Pollyanna around.


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