Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blood and Football

I went today to give plasma for the first time.

If you know me, then you know I am about as good at handling needles as I am at basketball, and I am abyssmal at basketball. But I went nonetheless, thinking to myself, "It will be a good experience to finally do that which I've avoided for years." I can't say it wasn't, but the wooziness is still in my head, and the thought (even after the fact) of small, sharp, metal impliments piercing my skin in the tenderest places still gives me something resembling the heebie-jeebies. Or it could have been the koobie-charlies. I can never be sure.

In other news, I went to my brother's last AYSO soccer/football game of the season. I went to support him in his goalie ability (which is considerably amazing for a twelve-year-old), and what I received in addition, whilst upon the sideline, was an education in obsessive and harmful stupidity. We sat beside a few pairs of parents who were there to cheer, or for posterity's sake, let us say, bully, their children into success. I naively thought that the Angry Sports Parent was simply a phenomenon relegated to specials on Dateline and 20/20. I can see John Stossel's imposing mustache and hear his appalled cries of, "You actually believe that?!" giving cadence to videos of polo-shirted middle-class white dads going ape on unsuspecting twenty-something referees and umpires. But, silly me. We sat there with our umbrellas (looking a bit out of place) giving us portable shade from the blistering sun, and they sat next to us, giving us testimony to the general condition of the human race. Perhaps you've seen them, or are them. You know who you are...

The Angry Sports Parent Criteria
(it could happen to you!)

1. They travel in packs that speak a language revolving almost solely around the logistics of children's sports. Cell phone conversations count here.

2. They cheer *sorry* yell for everything. (Our stereotypical neighbors were actually yelling, coaching-style, for their children to drink while in between quarters.)

3. A referee in favor of the other team on any call is blind, dang near certifiable, or never made it out of the third grade.

4. A referee in favor of their child's team is unnecessary, superfluous. Their child's team is always right, and they don't need an official to tell them so. A subset of Criterion #4 is that their children are always perfect. They could keep for the Tampa Bay Mutiny if they were old enough.

5. They live under several persistent delusions, not the least of which is that their child is going to go pro someday, and only they have the foresight to see it. They must tell everyone. This is a mere step from the guy wearing a "The End is Coming" sign and giving out Pixie Sticks for your salvation.

6. They are too out of shape to actually play the sport themselves (not that soccer/football is a good place to begin if this is you) and seem to be living vicariously through their children, in a sick and twisted sort of VR.

7. You cannot reason with them. Attempting to do so results in violence including but not limited to yelling, cursing, spitting, general tantrums, the throwing-around of weight (literally), suckerpunches, rabbit punches, uppercuts, roundhouses, haymakers, knees to the groin, mauling, stomping, inducing general hysteria, mob violence, the use of firearms, lawsuits, death, dismemberment, scalp-itch, jaundice, and getting your GED.

Let us sum up to say that, if this applies to you at a child's sporting event (it's not just a game), you might need to see a specialist about reattaching your brain stem to your spinal cord. You have lost touch, the foam (or the cell phone frequency) has gone straight to your brain. Please drop what you're doing and seek assistance immediately. Above all, I am not a medical professional, so feel free NOT to share your personal hysteria in this fashion with me and those I love.


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