New Ways to Look at Your Softball Family
When it comes to our softball team, the reality is that they become family. Softball teams and their families spend an immense amount of time together. And just like our regular family, our softball family is sure to be full of different characters who get on our nerves. And chances are WE (meaning you) get on other people’s nerves as well! Rather than let these folks ruin your day, steal your happiness, or make you grumpy – today we offer new ways to look at your softball family! Enjoy!
1. Excuses Excuses Excuses. Every team has a parent or two who is constantly making excuses for their daughter every time they strike out or make an error. It’s never the kids fault. Girl misses a ball between the legs and it’s because the field hasn’t been tended to and there’s a ginormous rock under the dirt where she stands. Or the sun was in her eyes. Or she saw a lightning strike. Or a UFO flew over the field right as the ball popped out of he glove. Or she is on her period. Rather than be irritated and respond with frustration, just pat him or her on the back and say, “It’s alright! Your daughter is a good player!” Chances are they are just insecure, or embarrassed and are simply looking for a little reassurance.
2. The Bragger. If you sit down next to him or her, you know you are going to hear run on sentences about how awesome and amazing their daughter is. Miles long conversations about all the amazing plays she made or makes, her inflated batting average, how SEC schools are looking at her and she’s only 11. Annoying, yes. Harmful? Absolutely not. See this person as simply a proud parent who loves his or her daughter to the moon and back. With all the crappy things going on in the world today, a proud parent over-boasting and seeing their daughter as a super star (regardless of whether its true or not) is not the end of the world! Redirect or change the subject, or move your chair.
3. The LEFT field loner. Is that parent really a snob? Does he or she think she’s so much better than everyone else that they feel they have to sit far way from the team? It could be several things rather than elitism. Perhaps they are shy and have a hard time talking to new people. OR….we have found that many of the left field loners have been around travel ball long enough to realize that sometimes sitting by the fence and listening to all the parental hoopla, simply sucks the fun out of the game. Many experienced travel ball parents often take to sitting away or being loners because they don’t want to engage, or be dragged into drama. Rather than JUDGE them – join them. Or be the first to start a conversation. And by all means, don’t take it personal if they sit away. It probably has NOTHING to do with YOU! (Unless you are a drama queen/king)
4. The Pot Stirrer. This parent can be lethal to the team. They complain to everyone (but the coaches) about everything and are simply looking for people to buddy up or side with them. The biggest problem with the pot stirrer – is perhaps not their complaints, but their recruitment policy. And the best way to deal with them is to ignore them. Change the subject. Or when they come to you complaining or feeling you out to see if you are unhappy or will agree with them – send them to the people in charge. Say, “Have you talked to the coaches?” Or better yet, “Why don’t you talk to the coaches about that, I am powerless to help.” Or even, “Oh, I don’t DO drama!” The good news is that when the pot stirrer is brought out of the bushes and identified, and other team family realizes they are just looking for an army, he or she can be disarmed by being ignored. It takes a village! And there IS something wrong with just sitting back and allowing drama to be created on your TEAM!
5. The Yeller! He or she is the parent that sits behind home plate and is constantly yelling and screaming at the kids. We say, have some balls and tell this person to shut the hell up! (You could be nicer) All this person does is have a negative affect on the girls playing, undermines the coaches and makes him or herself look like a fool which embarrasses the team. Maybe they used to coach, or maybe they think they know more than anyone else. Whatever it is, take a freaking stand!!!!
6. The Playing Time Parent.This is the parent that is always complaining about playing time. Maybe his or her daughter sits out more. Maybe they don’t bat. Maybe they don’t get to play the position they want. It’s not always easy to arrange 9-10 girls in the best positions. And its UNFAIR to play a girl just to satisfy a complaining parent when it may hurt the team. But rather than get all irritated about it, just realize that this parent LOVES their daughter and that they, like you – just want their daughter to be happy and be appreciated. We all LOVE our kids, and when we see them hurting, or feel like they are being done wrongly, the PARENT in us comes out. And sometimes from the outside looking in – it can be ugly. In fact, this is TRUE for most parents.
7. The Slacker. There’s always one parent who takes advantage of the other parents. Dropping off the kid at practice and not coming back till 15 minutes after it ends, always having them hitch rides, sending them without money or water to tournaments so others are left to care for her. It’s easy to WANT to judge this parent. But instead of judging, just feel blessed that you are perhaps enabling a girl to play ball, who might not be able to otherwise. Focus on the child rather than the parent, and know that you are doing something very special for this kid. Even if the parent doesn’t appreciate it, know that the kid does. By focusing on the girl, you can feel good about what you are doing rather than taken advantage of.
8. The Positive POLLY. This is the parent that you talk to after the worst game the team has ever played, who is just soo proud of the girls, who never stops believing. So much so, that you might wonder what game they watched, or what they smoked before the game. Rather than hate on him or her wearing the rose-colored glasses, try to be MORE like him or her! See the good. Praise the good. Remember, it is the coaches job to criticize and correct, and it comes much better from the coaches than it does from ANY parent. Why not be happy? Even if your team lost 10-0 and make 22 errors, you still got to watch them play. You are still blessed.
9. The Negative Nelly! Sit them next to the positive Polly. Or ignore them. No one likes being around negative people and these folks NEED/WANT an audience and are just trying to suck the life out of other people. Rather than allow them to point out everything wrong – YOU POINT OUT what went right!
10. The Wannabe Coach. You know this person. They take helping to an all new level. Here’s the thing, at least they WANT to help. Maybe they don’t know a softball from a baseball, but at least they are interested in the girls and the team. Give them a job to do, that satisfies their wanna be coach attitude, and be grateful that they want to help. Just make sure to set boundaries.
11. THE A BALLER: This is the parent that is always talking about A-Ball, or how his or her daughter used to play A-BALL, or how amazing the team she was on last year was because they played A BALL. Funny how you see so many A BALL players ended up on teams playing the same tournaments as you, right? The thing is, they too are just a proud, boasting parent. It probably has nothing to do with the girls. And when it becomes too much – just ask them why the girl is not playing A BALL if A BALL is so important to them! That usually shuts them up pretty quick.
All in all, no family would be complete without a bunch of different characters. The lovely reality is that this just prepares our kids for the real world, which means dealing with a lot of people who are different from us. The biggest thing to take away, is that if you look at every person as another parent, who loves his or her daughter, who is committed to their daughter (whether they act like nuts or not) it is easy to see that we all do share something very IMPORTANT in common, and we all have something to learn from one another. And no matter where you GO, there YOU are! And YOU decide how you let others affect you.
Don’t forget! One of our newest shirts is just for SOFTBALL FAMILY! Because it’s a sisterhood like no other!