So you’re sitting in the bleachers enjoying your kid’s baseball or softball game. We all want to be a positive influence in our children’s lives, and how we behave at their games can be a determining factor in that. None of us wants to be that crazy parent, the one who yells and screams and has a really loud, obnoxious voice. You know the one. With the help of some of my baseball-parent friends, we’ve come up with a few ways to be an awesome baseball parent in the stands.
Don’t yell at your kid.
Of course we want to help our kids be the best they can be. Playing sports in front of a bunch of grown-ups can often be nerve-racking, especially when some of those parents are yelling. Try not to yell out what they should have done differently because now the play is over. During the game is not the time to coach them on batting and defensive techniques. You can speak calmly with them later, when everyone’s not staring at you. Just remember when you’re yelling, you’re not being nice and you could end up looking like someone out of a horror movie.
Don’t yell at the coaches.
Remember, these people are volunteers who give up a lot of their free time to coach your kids not only at games, but at practice as well, and sometimes they even end up playing babysitter. You want to stay on their good side… for the babysitting, of course. And, nobody’s perfect.
Don’t yell at the umpires.
You know how you’re always telling your kid to have respect for people? Well, here’s your chance to lead by example. Umpires are one of the most hated groups in the world, and believe me…there are some bad ones out there. Keep in mind that most of them don’t get paid that much and usually they’re standing in the hot sun watching little kids play baseball. I’m sure they would rather be somewhere else. Give them a break.
Don’t talk about other people’s kids.
This is a no no. I have heard my kid’s name whispered in the bleachers and I’ve almost turned into the psycho mom I’m trying to warn you about. Maybe your son is the best player in the world and is headed to the MLB. You still shouldn’t criticize other kids. Someone’s baby is out there on the field, so try to have some empathy. Those little guys and girls are trying their hardest, and baseball and softball are not easy sports.
Stay out of other people’s conversations.
I know it seems like we’re all friends, but sometimes people are talking and you just shouldn’t butt in. We all have those one or two parents who just can’t help themselves and no matter who is talking in the bleachers, their heads are spinning around putting their two cents in. Be self-aware about non-stop talking too. We really do want to see some of this game.
Don’t spit out your seed shells out.
Well, I mean don’t swallow them, but don’t spit them on the bleachers or on the ground. I have been guilty of this myself and even at the places where there’s not a sign banning seeds, someone still has to clean that up and most league parks are run by volunteers. Those seeds can create a huge mess so just get a cup to put them in, and throw it away later.
Don’t have your umbrella up in any of the front rows.
This is obvious, right? Many bleachers don’t have the greatest views, and sometimes dugouts or fences can block part of a field. I can’t see my baby hitting dingers if your giant Hello Kitty umbrella is blocking the plate. Either get there early to get the back row or maybe set up your umbrella in the outfield for the ultimate viewing spot.
Don’t wear low-rise jeans.
Okay, now’s your chance to be that awesome, perfect baseball parent. Use this opportunity to be super-positive and yell out all the nice, good things you want to say about the game and your favorite players. Really….you can do it. Here are some examples: “Great try”, “Way to be a team player”, “Atta kid”, “That’s okay you’ll get ’em next time”, “Great throw”, “Great hit”, “Way to hustle”, “That’s my baby Hercules”, or “Love you, little boo bear pumpkin” (oh, wait…that’s just me). Cheering and clapping in a positive manner creates good energy for your kid and you will look like a much more sane person than the yelling one.
Say “Hello” and get to know your fellow baseball parents
Being a baseball or softball parent gives us the opportunity to become part of a community. I’ve met some of my closest friends through my kids’ activities and especially their sports. We’ve had some lively conversations in the bleachers and it can be a lot of fun. You might not be the hug-and-kiss everyone type, so a friendly “Hi everybody” usually works just fine. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with these people so you might as well make it pleasant and get to know everyone.