I have a pet peeve I want to get off my chest. I know that’s not exactly the best invitation to continue reading, but …
I believe – or at least I hope – that 99.9 percent of the parents of high school athletes understand that newspapers aren’t responsible for their little Johnny or Mary receiving scholarship offers.
It’s amazing to me how many emails I receive to the contrary, essentially stating that it’s incumbent upon newspapers to get as many boys and girls names in the daily reports because that’s the only way they’ll get a scholarship.
Really? I mean, really?
One parent sent an email during the basketball season that still has me laughing. The parent was concerned that his daughter’s name had been misspelled. I understand that concern. I take it as a personal affront any time a name is misspelled. It’s what followed the parent’s request that had me chuckling. I won’t name names, but the parent wanted us to make sure his daughter’s name was spelled correctly so that when the college coaches check the box scores they’ll be able to follow how she’s doing. So I watched how this girl was faring. To this point she had been averaging 5 points per game. Then the next two games following the email she went scoreless in one game and had three in the other.
Perhaps the fact we published those box scores cost her a scholarship offer or two.
Another email this spring scolded us for not writing reports of each sport – I won’t identify which sport but you could probably guess – because without the write-ups the athletes won’t get the exposure they need.
I understand why parents want to fill up scrapbooks and the like with clippings of their children’s exploits.
Another reader sent an email to say he was a standout baseball player back in the day and was drafted by the Seattle Mariners. He noticed in a recent game that I covered that I mentioned the feats of the top players on each team. But he was out to defend the little guy, the athlete who doesn’t get recognition. From what I could draw from his argument he would rather I point out that other kids went hitless – even struck out – but boy, did they try hard.
Really? I make it a point to get as many names as I possibly can into a game story, but let’s not be silly. I don’t think an athlete who strikes out multiple times or misses all eight shots in a basketball game wants that to be noted.
Entertaining and irritating
I like to observe people at high school athletic events – especially parents.
No sports offer a more up close and personal view of parents than baseball and softball.
Take the Shadle Park at Mead baseball game two weeks ago. About nine fathers were pacing nervously left of the grandstands. Occasionally, one or two would bark something at “blue” – the nickname for umpires in both sports. And it wasn’t to compliment blue on a good call either.
On the right side of the grandstands – the home team’s side – there was a fair share of fathers doing their best to balance out the chatter.
Go to a softball game and you’ll see a similar scene.
Located up in the bleachers are the mothers, who dutifully support their son or daughter but do so in a more mannerly way.
I had to laugh at a father the other day when he blurted, “That was 6 inches inside, blue.”
Perhaps from his angle. From my vantage point, the umpire was spot on.
Sometimes fathers just want to be heard.
And I suspect that if the sons and daughters heard their fathers, they’d be embarrassed at times.