He Is Only A Boy

Please don’t curse the boy down there;
He is my son you see.
He’s only just a boy you know,
He means a lot to me.
I did not raise my son dear fan,
for you to call him names.
He may not be a super-star;
it’s just a high school game.
So please don’t curse those boys down there,
they do the best they can.
They never tried to lose a game.
They’re boys and you’re a man.
The game belongs to them you see,
you are just a guest.
They do not need a fan like you,
they need the very best.
If you have nothing nice to say,
Please leave the boys alone,
And if you have no manners,
why don’t you stay home.
So please don’t curse those boys down there,
each one’s his parents’ son.
Win. Lose or tie, you see.
To us they’re “NUMBER ONE”
-Anonymous

I am sure you have seen the above poem before, but I think it is a great reminder during little league playoffs of just how important we are as parents, fans, and spectators. Although my children aren’t old enough to participate in organized sports, with 2 nieces and 12 nephews, I attend my fair share of games during the year. Recently, I attended a baseball game that my 12-year-old nephew was playing in, the game was very close and both teams were playing quite well. Unfortunately, the actions that I observed in the stands were lacking.

Since the game was so close, the parents were getting more “involved” than normal in the encouraging or (discouraging) of the boys. Some parents were cheering the boys on and even commented on a “great play” that a player on the other team had made. Like I mentioned above, there were more negative actions in the stand than the positive. One group of parents was nagging at everyone including the coaches. “Get your head out of your rear, ump!” “What an idiot!” “That is the 4th time he struck out, why is he still batting?” “C’mon Jonny, catch the dam* ball!” These were all things that I heard yelled in the final innings of this close game. Please keep in mind these were 12 year olds, this was not a championship game (not that that would have made these actions appropriate), the coaches are volunteers/parents/working full-time, and the umpires probably get paid with a bag of popcorn. This is not the World Series, these boys are not professionals, and they were just doing the best that they could.

Unfortunately, the negative parents in the group began to have an impact on everyone involved. I could physically see the confidence draining from boys, the coach finally turned around with his arms raised like, “Would you like to coach?” and the umpire lost count and had to ask the score keeper what the count was with the current batter.

I was deeply saddened by what I was witnessing, these parents were drastically changing the attitude of the crowd, some were joining in and some were literally moving to other parts of the bleachers to get away from the “noise.” Not one single person stood up and said, “Please stop, this is just a game and these are our boys.” THAT is what saddened me!

The next time you are at an event where children are doing the best job they can, keep this in mind. Think of the words in the poem and do your part to ENCOURAGE both teams.

How would you handle the above situation? Have you ever had to say something to a “negative fan” at an event? Would you consider removing your child from a team if they were subjected to the above treatment?