Standing by the side of the pitch can bring out the best or worst in any parent, but which of these categories of parent can you put a face to?
1) The Vicarious Dreamer
This parent (according to them) narrowly missed out on superstardom thanks to an unfortunate injury on the way to their Manchester United trial – and now seeks validation through the sporting potential of their offspring.
Unfortunately, their offspring is often as average at sport as they were – not that it stops this pushy parent writing to football clubs demanding first-team trials, and telling everyone in the clubhouse how they can’t decide if their dyspraxic kid should choose to be a golfer, skier, heavyweight boxing champion, or all three at the same time.
2) The Wannabe Coach
This parent once read a blog on basketball training and now thinks they are the amalgamation of Vince Lombardi, Emmanuel Steward and the ghost of Bob Shankly.
Thanks to their enthusiasm for coaching manuals, they can often be found screaming incomprehensible jargon at “Junior Athletes” (kids playing sport), who just wish their Dad would shut up and stop yelling at them to “lock into the zone.”
3) The Rose-tinted Visionary
Similar to the Vicarious Dreamer, this parent suffers from delusions of grandeur. The key difference is that while the dreamer views their child as an extension of their own imaginary prowess, the rose-tinted visionary simply believes their child possesses sporting gifts never seen before in their own family - or anyone else’s.
The main reason for this is that this parent was absolutely abysmal at every single sport they tried out for, and can’t believe that someone who inherited their DNA is able to throw, kick or drive a ball without face-planting into the turf. For most parents, not falling over when breaking into a jog is a sign of basic physical competence. For the RTV, it’s the sign of a God-given sporting gift that will one day lead their child to the pinnacle of athletic achievement.
4) The Tiger Parent
This normally pleasant Mum or Dad turns into a ferocious beast whenever watching their kids play sport, and will whip out their claws at the first sign of any play that displeases them, whether the victim is the coach, referee or even their own child.
Their child is substituted off? The coach better prepare themselves for a sustained ear-bashing on why they don’t know what they’re doing. A disputable penalty is called by the ref? They better prepare themselves for a screaming rant on how they don’t know what they’re doing. The child messes up at a vital point in their under 5’s match? They better prepare themselves for a sustained lecture on the long journey home on how they don’t know what they’re doing and have brought shame upon their entire family, including their long-lost ancestors.
5) The Chilled One
At first glance, this doting Mum/Dad might not appear all that bothered about their child’s game. They don’t bellow in fury at the ref, don’t wail in despair at a goal conceded and avoid rollicking children for making mistakes.
In actual fact, they just care about the child’s enjoyment of the sport, rather than if they win or lose. They’re acutely aware that the odds on making it to the professional level of any major sport are extraordinarily slim – and are far more concerned about whether their son/daughter is able to make friends and learn to develop a love for sport that goes beyond winning or losing. Funnily enough, ex-professional sportsmen and women are far more likely to fall into this category than any other.
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