Roadkill Goldfish

Can we get rid of the grown-ups in youth sports?

Image: Friday Night Tykes' Facebook page

Image: Friday Night Tykes’ Facebook page

I hate youth sports.

Let me rephrase that, I hate the adults involved in youth sports.

To be fair, most of the adults are pretty level-headed and see sports as a learning opportunity for their kids. It’s a fun way to keep them physically active, and moms and dads coach because they want to share their love of the game.

I like those people.

Unfortunately, too many others use youth sports to create a culture in which parents live vicariously through their children, failure is not an option, and children suffer physical and emotional abuse in the name of “play like a champion.” It hurts their kids, and it hurts mine.

I’ve seen way too much of that.

My two children started playing in church leagues as 4-year-olds. These programs taught them the basics of sports like soccer, t-ball and basketball in environments where effort and fun were celebrated. God bless the men and women who dealt with my preschool daughter picking flowers in the outfield and my kindergarten son who decided that the best way to control the basketball was to hold it close to his chest and run from everyone who tried to get it.

Things took an ugly turn when they began to participate in community programs. It wasn’t the competition on the field or court that got ugly, it was the parents on the sidelines.

Real life examples of parents behaving badly

During one of my daughter’s basketball games, I witnessed rabid grown-ups verbally assaulting 12-year-old girls with shouts such as “Knock her down,” and “Don’t let that little b_tch push you around.” Moms shrieked during free throws, and dads yelled expletives at the game officials while their daughters pulled hair and clawed the arms, hands and faces of girls on the opposing team – my daughter and her friends. Sadly, our team parents and coach created a competitive disadvantage for our girls because we all seemed psychologically well-balanced.

I’ve seen dads jerk their sons by the soccer jersey after the little guy had a bad game. I’ve seen morbidly obese parents scream, “Move your ass” when their 7-year-old baseball player wasn’t running the bases fast enough.

No one ever batted an eye during these situations. Unbeknownst to me, this is just part of the game, and it’s expected and accepted. If a parent dares to speak out about it, they will face the full wrath and fury of the youth sports gods.

I finally spoke out after I witnessed a football coach yell, scream and angrily smack his sixth grade son because the child centered the ball too soon and caused a fumble. A few seconds later, he barked at the boy to stop crying. Inexcusable offense? Not really, the dad-coach received a three game suspension for doing something that would be grounds for immediate termination of any middle school, high school or college coach.

Why regular moms and dads need to speak out

I really ticked off the Guardians of Youth Football. The offense was no big deal, because as an assistant coach said, “The kid had his helmet on and was not knocked to the ground or anything.” A league official took to social media to say, “Adults hit their children in anger all the time for discipline.” Another dad went as far as to justify the action by saying, “I personally was ripped by coaches, grabbed and cussed at in my years of sports. And I thank every one of those coaches. They molded me to be the man I am today.”

Seriously? That’s not coaching or parenting; that’s abuse – from every adult involved.

As the mom of a young athletes and the wife of a youth coach, I understand sports can be aggressive and players must be physically and mentally tough. However, I also understand these young athletes are still children, and children don’t learn when adults are yelling, hitting or behaving like frustrated toddlers.

My kids have been very fortunate to have had level-headed coaches who viewed sports as just games, not lifestyles. Nonetheless, I will be silently celebrating as my son plays his last football game this weekend. Should he choose to play next year, his next coach will not be a dad; it will be a middle school teacher who doesn’t think the athleticism of seventh-grade boys is a reflection of his self-worth.

Thank goodness. I’m way too old to put up with another year of youth sports.

Let me rephrase that. I’m way to old to put up with the juvenile adults involved in youth sports.


If Houston’s mayor wants sermons, let’s give her sermons

Aldrich_Ames_mailboxThe mayor of Houston recently subpoenaed local pastors for copies of their sermons. She’s  not looking for inspiration; she’s looking for content her office can use in a legal case.

According to the Washington Post, “…The controversy erupted amid a battle over an ordinance, passed by the City Council in May, which allows people to use public bathrooms designated for use by the opposite sex. The measure is aimed at prohibiting discrimination based on “gender identity,” which is now a “protected characteristic” under Houston law.”

The mayor and her office are requesting a long list of documents and communications from the pastors. The list includes “all speeches, presentations, or sermons” related to the mayor and gender identity. Get the full story from the Washington Times.

One of my lifelong best friends, a pastor in Memphis, expressed a rather unusual opinion about the case. Rather than wailing and gnashing teeth, he suggested:

“Instead of denying the office sermons, every pastor in the nation, along with every Sunday school teacher, should mail their sermons, page by page, to (the Houston mayor’s office.”)

I have to admit I like his idea. It points out the utter ridiculousness of the entire situation without throwing any person, group or belief under the bus.

“If they want sermons, I say we give them sermons,” added Dave.

I’m not one to say “no” to the guy who quotes Monty Python movies better than I do, so here’s the mayor’s mailing address:

The Honorable Annise D. Parker
City of Houston
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251

I’ve got copies of a few preschool Sunday School lessons that use gender identity words like “boys” and “girls.” Now to find my envelopes.

Feel free to share or comment.
Just a reminder about my Place Nice Comment Policy: I don’t tolerate personal attacks on anyone, religion bashing, slams about sexual orientation or general jerky behavior on Roadkill Goldfish.

A suspected case of Ebola was in my backyard and two cases confirmed in my city

Ebola imageUPDATE 10/12: The local sheriff’s deputy who went into the home of patient zero has tested NEGATIVE for Ebola after scaring the snot of me and the rest of my neighbors.

However, the CDC today confirmed Ebola in a Dallas nurse who cared for patient zero. Dallas media report the nurse was wearing the required protective gear; however, the CDC is saying she contracted the virus because she breached protocol. The nurse has no idea what she did wrong.
Get the story.

It’s in my neighborhood.

I pass it on my way to the grocery store.

The horrific virus that kills nearly half of its victims.


Dallas news outlets just announced a suspected case of the deadly pathogen has been reported at the little minor medical clinic where parents bring kids for summer camp physicals.

The same place that sews up fingers when they’re cut by paring knives.

The same place that tells you your swollen ankle isn’t broken, just sprained, after you trip over toys left on the stairs.

According to the media reports, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Michael Monnig went to the clinic this morning because he was not feeling well. Monnig is one of the deputies who went to the home of patient-zero, Thomas Eric Duncan. He was sent to get a quarantine order signed. Without protective gear.

Duncan died this morning at a Dallas hospital and members of his family are in quarantine.

The media say Monnig is not showing “all the signs of Ebola,” which I’m not sure is comforting news. It will take up to 48 hours to get the results of his blood test.

I am hoping the deputy just has a monster of a stomach bug that works its way through his system in just a few days. My reasons are both altruistic and selfish. I don’t want this man and his family to go through this excruciating nightmare, and I ‘m a little freaked out my family could be at risk. This is way too close to home, and there is nothing I can do.

I know Monnig lived nearby, but I don’t know who he had contact with. Did he expose a child to the virus? Is that kid going to school with my children? Did he and I cross paths over the weekend?

I’ve heard all the media reports and CDC admonitions about how difficult it is to contract the virus, and I certainly hope the experts are right. Monnig never had direct contact with Thomas Eric Duncan. He merely stepped inside the apartment a day or so after the world knew about the first U.S. case of Ebola. Based on the experts’ talking points, there is no way he could have contracted the virus.

If his blood tests come back positive, the experts will have some serious explaining to do.

My heart is grieving for Thomas Eric Duncan, an ordinary man from Liberia who helped a neighbor during a medical crisis and lost his life to a cruel biological twist of fate. Duncan came to the U.S. to start a new life with a family he loved. Those same loved ones are being treated like pariahs because they were close to him when he fell ill. I can’t say I blame people. Duncan didn’t mean to endanger others, but he had no control of the contagion in his body.

No one has control of this contagion.

And it showed up in my neighborhood.


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