FIELDER’S VOICES: Parents must set the example for their kids

It’s getting a little more difficult to actually enjoy prep sporting events lately.

Not that the games aren’t great or the athletes aren’t competing hard or anything.

It’s just tougher to block out some of the people around me. You know the ones, the ones who leave their respectable jobs of doctor, teacher, police officer, businessman or lawyer (OK, maybe not that respectable) and act like idiots at soccer matches and basketball games.

Adults, grown-ups, whatever you want to call them, yelling at, making fun of, taunting or in some cases even threatening students who are participating in an extracurricular (I know, big word) activity after school.

We’re not angels. We act up at games, too, mostly in the name of fun, but it does get out of control sometimes. Adults, though are supposed to “know better.” They’re supposed to be the ones setting the examples.

Well, after the brawl that erupted in the stands at Bonanza, police being called during a confrontation in the stands at the Coronado-Green Valley soccer match Friday, and even just hearing comments at other games, it makes me wonder if they should even be allowed in the door.

Just for a little research, I actually went to my government class and asked my teacher about freedom of speech. Turns out it was the first amendment to the Constitution, right before the one that gives bears the right to have arms … or was it the right to have bare arms?

Anyways, free speech is a great thing to have, but it doesn’t mean people have to speak every thought that comes into their mind.

I know, I know. The argument can be made that “I slapped down my five dollars to get into the game, so I should be able to say whatever I want.”

Maybe. But nowhere in the price of admission or in that Constitution does it say people (or even bears) have the right to act like idiots.

If you don’t like a call an official makes, you’ve got every right to voice your opinion responsibly. Trust me, though, the official is not there just to upset you. He or she is not deliberately trying to screw up any more or less than you are at your job.

And I can’t see anywhere where it gives you the right to make fun of a 16-year-old kid who missed a shot in a basketball game or who committed a foul in the game.

Tell you what, the next time you’re thinking about going to a basketball game or a soccer match, go a different direction.

Invite everyone who might go to that game in to watch you work. And every time you screw something up, make sure you let them heckle you, razz you, point at you and laugh, chant “air ball” or whatever else they’d like to do.

Seriously, would you go into a classroom and laugh at a student when he made a mistake in his report or at the chalkboard or on a test? So why is it OK to do it on a football field or basketball court?

Or worse yet, make anonymous comments on a message board ripping someone. That’s brave. You deserve a medal for that.

I’ll give kids a pass on this one. We give each other a hard time most of the time and it’s meant in fun. It’s a give-and-take thing. I’ve been on the taking end more times than I want to count, but it’s just me having fun with my boys.

Adults who don’t even know the kids personally should know better. Set an example. A good one for a change.

Not one that involves yelling at players on the opposing soccer team or starting a fight in the stands of a basketball game.

It’s a privilege to watch the athletes play and improve and show the skills they’ve worked long hours to try to perfect. If you’re going to be an idiot, don’t come. Your presence isn’t needed. Stay home and yell at your TV.

Or here’s a thought. If you don’t like how a coach or an official handles his or her team or the game, apply to be a coach or take classes to be an official and let goofballs yell at you for hours on end while being paid a minimal amount.

I’m not shedding any tears for coaches or officials. They chose to do that, in most cases to help the kids, though in some cases to make a little extra coin.

Look, I’m the last person to be telling people how they should act. But I’m willing to look in a mirror and be responsible for the things I say and the choices I make. All I’m asking is that you do the same and have fun at the games.

That’s why we go … to enjoy ourselves.

I’m off the soapbox … and out.

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