Blood, sweat, but mostly tears

Peter Northcut

You know I’ve never really thought about it before, but after reading the latest headlines about Pluto’s resurgence into the planet fraternity, I can see how Pluto and I are a lot alike. We are both generally smaller in size than our peers. We both tend to be pushed to the outskirts in social situations. We both have been kept down by the man. But most of all, Pluto and I are fighters. That’s right, just like the dwarf planet with a giant’s heart, I am rising up from the ashes of irrelevancy to once again waste about three minutes of your time. After the debacle that was my first column a couple weeks ago, I expected to be banned from writing ever again. But alas, miracles do happen, folks. Be thinking of who you want to play your character in the Disney movie they will make about this very moment. I call Denzel.

But today we have a much more important topic to talk about. Last time I claimed that I would take on the heaviest topic in the sports world by curing the disease that is obnoxious sports commentary on social media, but quite simply I lied to you. This week’s topic would look at that column and in disappointment scream, “IS THAT ALL YOU GOT? COME ON, YOU’RE PLAYING LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN A BALL BEFORE.” Yep, this week I am talking about crazy sports parents. Nothing has caused more psychological scars in the minds of little league athletes than the people sitting in the bleachers who gave them life. Now I must add a disclaimer before I continue. My parents have never yelled irrational things at minors in the context of athletics. This isn’t to say that they are better than any other parents, only that they were less than informed when it comes to the ins and outs of sports. Throughout my soccer and basketball playing days, my mom read every novel ever written, and my dad broke the Brickbreaker world record all while encouraging me with, “Way to go, Pete! You kicked a 3-pointer!” I give them an ‘E’ for effort.

Even though I was not a direct victim of this verbal parental assault, I breathed it in second-hand. In a small town where the only thing more exciting than your 8-year-old kid’s game is the season premiere of Duck Dynasty, the parents’ pent-up energy is unleashed on their unassuming children. It was like my third grade basketball team was Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea and the waves of boisterous parents on either side were about to crash in on top of us if not for those pesky boundary lines. It amazes me that full grown adults can act like they have wagered their entire estate on the outcome of a basketball game that features six-foot goals. At this point it wouldn’t surprise me if Upward Sports is running an underground gambling ring, honestly. It would actually explain a lot.

I say all of this as a plea for the future. We are at a stage of life where it is possible for us to create little people. And those little people are going to want to play sports. And they will play them really terribly. It will be just awful. Literally, the worst. But we have to band together and fight the urge to yell at our children to stop double dribbling. There are more important things in life than our offspring’s athletic prowess. Now if they double dribbled in their pants, that’s a different matter entirely as it is embarrassing and smells awful. But that is another column for another day.

Column by Peter Northcutt, Staff writer