The 8 Most Annoying Sports Parents

There’s at least one at every kids’ sporting event. The Sports Parent who can’t contain himself. He couldn’t sit and enjoy the game quietly if you gave him a stack of hot dogs to fill his pie hole.

Sometimes he’s on your kid’s team. Sometimes he’s on the opponent’s team. And sometimes both teams are lucky enough to have their very own Sports Parent mascot.

Sports Parent Mascot?
(OK. I’m about to share some inside information with you. The idea to call these parents “mascots” just popped into my head as I was writing this post. It wasn’t originally part of the plan, but I think it fits. Agree?)
Think about it. They’re loud, often obnoxious. They provide amusement to us level-headed Sports Parents. They’re over the top. They do embarrassing things. They get other fans riled up. They annoy coaches and umpires. The only thing they don’t do is pose for pictures with little kids and shoot t-shirts out of air cannons into the crowd. And much like team mascots are representatives of an entire team, unfortunately, annoying and mouthy Sports Parents are representatives of all the parents on a team.

From my experiences on the sidelines and in the stands at my boys’ games, I’ve come up with a list of the 8 Most Annoying Sports Parents. Please let me know if you’ve come across other varieties.

  1. The Voice Command Parent
    This parent thinks he has to control every movement his son makes. It’s as if he thinks his son is a robot that functions on voice commands. I’m sure you’ve heard this guy before. “Stop kicking dirt!” “Watch the batter!” “Touch the base!” “Pay attention!” “Put your hat back on!” “Don’t do that with your glove!” “Go to second, go to second!” “Slide!” “That’s your ball!” “You’re too close to the base, scoot over a few steps.”
    Ugh! It’s exhausting just listening to this parent. Which is why his kid simply blocks him out. Wish I could do the same.
  2. The Positive Cheer Leader
    I hate stereotypes, but in my experiences, this parent is usually a Sports Mom. She’s so fearful of her son’s confidence being damaged by a ball he missed or a goal he allowed that she showers him with praise the entire game. Her favorite phrases are: “That’s OK, good try!” “You’ll get ’em next time buddy!” and “Great job!”
    I’m all for keeping things positive for your kids, but there’s just no need to have a positive remark ready to go every time your son is involved with a play.
  3. The Ultra Competitive Guy
    Like most Sports Dads, this guy means well. He’s usually a pretty good athlete himself.  He wants his son to succeed so much that he just can’t control himself. He doesn’t shout most of his comments. For the most part he’s just thinking out loud and it’s only audible for the people around him. Things like, “C’mon go to the ball.”  “Hustle!” “Pass it!” “Shoot!” “Go to the goal!” “Follow your shot!” “Adam that’s your ball!”
    This dad is a good guy and fun to talk sports with. He may even be one of your buddies. This Sports Dad is the kind I can be influenced by if I’m not careful. Being a competitive guy myself, it doesn’t take much to get me excited about a game. Hearing this dad’s excitement and intensity sucks me into the competition even more. I just have to remind myself that it’s not about me. No matter how excited I get or how much I yell, it’s not going to effect the outcome of the game or how my son plays.
  4. The Loud Cheerer
    This Sports Parent doesn’t just yell for his own kid. He spreads the cheering around to every player. It’s not so much what this Sports Parent says, it’s how loud he says it. Everything is amplified. Every play is cause for a loud, booming compliment. You don’t want to be next to this guy without some aspirin or noise-cancelling headphones.
  5. The Blamer
    In the eyes of this parent, it’s everyone else’s fault if his son doesn’t succeed. He can’t accept the fact that his son won’t actually bat .1000, or score a goal on every shot or make every lay-up he attempts. No, this dad has to blame every other factor possible.
    “That was a ball!” “His coach has been messing with his shot lately. See what happens? He screwed him up.” “C’mon, that’s a foul!”
  6. The Insulter
    This is the Sports Parent I simply don’t understand at all. While I can usually sense that, deep down, other over-the-top parents generally mean well…this kind of parent is just mean. He makes fun of his own son. Even when his son makes a good play this dad will say stuff like, “Hey, it’s better to be lucky than good.” This is the absolute worst parent to sit next to. He makes the entire game uncomfortable. You end up feeling so bad for his son that it’s depressing. If he makes these kind of comments in public, who knows the insults he tosses around at home.
  7. The Tailgaters
    This is a group of Sports Parents who confuse their sons’ sporting events for their college football tailgating days. They usually stand off to the side of the bleachers with a concession stand beer in hand. Some of the dads will make fun of other kids on the field. Each one trying to make a funnier comment than the next. Some of them don’t even pay attention to the game. Their son’s game is merely an excuse to hang out and socialize with friends.
  8. The Guy You’d Like To Punch
    This is usually a parent from the opposing team. He shouts insults and passive aggressive comments at the players, coaches and parents on your kid’s team. He says stuff like, “C’mon Johnny. You can rip this kid. He’s throwing batting practice.” “Your little sister swings harder than this kid. Strike him out!” Or, “Oh, yeah…there’s a class move. Teach your kids to take second base when you’re already up by 10 runs. Good job coach.”

Don’t Let Them Suck You In
It’s one thing when bad Sports Parents embarrass themselves and their son. But quite often they influence otherwise good Sports Parents, bringing them to the dark side. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. I’ve found myself being sucked into their actions, too. One minute I’m enjoying the game. The next I’m all worked up and shouting out instructions to my son. Luckily, if I don’t reel myself in first, my wife will give me a swift and sharp elbow to the ribs. (Thanks honey!)

#8 on the list, (aka “The Guy You’d Like To Punch”), is the one who tends to get otherwise mild-mannered Sports Parents fired up the most. Why? Because this guy is a jackass. Just remember, nothing good ever comes from shouting back at this guy. He’s not going to shut up. In fact, he’ll only get more obnoxious. And let’s face it, if you get into a shouting match at your son’s game. Who’s that really going to affect? Here’s a hint…it’s not the jackass. Take the high road and continue setting a good example for your son.

Did I Miss Any?
If you think I left off another kind of Sports Parent Mascot, let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,
-Kevin

P.S. The expense of youth sports can be even more annoying than some parents. If your kids’ sports are putting a strain on your household finances, check out my personal blog at KevinDuy.com. I share the great side business that’s been a game changer for my family. I’m helping other busy parents earn extra income. If that’s something you could use, I’d love to help you too.

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CJ Cat says:

You forgot the parent that always shows up one minute before the game, never brings his/her kid to practice, and then wonders why her kid isn’t selected as an All Star and starts only a few of the games.

Tim- That’s the same parent that “doesn’t have time to coach”, well then stfu and let me coach since clearly I have the time.

Kevin says:

HaHa, You mean you don’t go by the philosophy of “Game time is on time”? ;>)

Harold C says:

I’m a multi-sport youth coach and father of 2 sons that are youth baseball umpires. My sons can tell all sorts of crazy stories about coaches and parents.

As a coach, the one that drives me crazy the most is the parent that is telling their kid what to do… often the exact opposite of what the coaches are saying. Sometimes it’s the parent that thinks they know better than the coach; and other times it’s the ignorant parent that’s telling the kid to “kick it out of there” on defense at a soccer game when I’ve been working with the kids to keep control of the ball and pass it to a teammate, or they are yelling out “throw it to ____” when the ball should be thrown elsewhere. The kid gets caught in the middle and they either get in trouble with the parent or the coach for not doing what they were told. Grrr.

Kevin says:

Oh wow. I can totally see how that would drive a coach crazy. That’s a good one. “Contradictory Parent” should have been on my list! If coach is yelling to throw the ball to 2nd, Contradictory Parent will yell “Throw it home!” “No Clue” parent could have also taken this list to 10. :>)
Thanks for your contributions Harold!

Mario Sousa says:

Kevin – This is a great post, I really enjoyed it. Tim and Suzanne added to it nicely. I laughed all the way through it. I believe that parents need to read this and ask themselves a big question.

Do I fall into any of of these 10 categories?

Suzanne says:

How about back stabbing, gossip parent. You know the one that will talk to you about every other parent and kid around … then go over to other parents to talk about you and our kid. They are often the same parents as blamer. I gotta admit… I am prone to being a tail gaiter if I’m not careful… absent the alcohol.

Kevin says:

Ha ha! Excellent addition Suzanne. I think we all know the gossip parent.
Thanks!
-Kevin

Tim Ross says:

How about the “Coach in the Bleachers Parent”. He is THAT guy who is constantly yelling out instruction to his kid, and every other kid on the team. Not to be confused with the “Voice Command Parent”. The Voice Command Parent is Captain Obvious while the Coach in the Bleachers is that guy that yells out “keep your elbow up” (bad advice), or sits behind the backstop and gives signals to his kid pitching on the mound, or gives his son a steal sign from the bleachers. You subtly mention to this guy that if he wants to coach the kids, there are volunteer positions available at the park for more coach’s. He says he does not have time due to his busy work schedule, but somehow makes it to every game and practice.

Kevin says:

Tim,
I don’t know how I overlooked “The Coach In The Bleachers”. Great addition!
-Kevin

Tim Ross says:

Hey Kevin, perfect timing for this post. I am (or was) the event organizer for a local Pitch, Hit & Run event put on by Major League Baseball at one of my local parks. One parent/board member has put an end to that opportunity for kids…5 days before the event! He is a VP of an insurance company, and he told MLB that the waiver they provide for the event is not sufficient enough for HIM. MLB told him to go pound sand, and asked me to cancel the event. Then he says that even if I supply HIM with proof of insurance, I will still need a permit to use the field, which I found out today costs $100.00.

A FREE COMMUNITY EVENT will cost ME $100.00 to organize, administer, and run. Don’t know if this parent qualifies as an annoying sports parent, but in all my years of directing and coaching, I have never run across a more arrogant, hard headed person.

Kevin says:

Hi Tim,
Holy cow. That guy is beyond a list of annoying sports parents. He’s in a category all by himself. Maybe I should create a “Sports Jerkface of the Month” award and crown him with the first honoree! :>)
Seriously though, that’s ridiculous. What would posses someone to stand in the way of a great event for kids like that? He’s not standing up for a cause he believes in or trying to end an injustice.
He’s just a jerkface.
Maybe you can partner with a local business or two that would be willing to sponsor the event in the future. A sporting goods store might be a good fit? (My guess is the jerkface’s insurance company wouldn’t be a good prospect.)
Good luck. I hope you can find a way to keep the event alive!
Thanks for your comment.
-Kevin

Kevin Duy says:

Haha! You’ve got a stressful role though! :>)