Hindsight IS 20/20

Last night's basketball game was hard. On everybody.

First, the two teams were equally matched, so the play was exciting.

Second, there was the girl from the opposing team that crossed herself, and the floor, every time she had a free throw and then proceeded to show what a good Christian girl she was by punching, elbowing, tripping and in general being a bitch to all the girls on our team and made a hand gesture that I didn't approve of to her own coach.

Next was the comedy that was the referees. First ref was not a good ref. He didn't seem to see any of the bad stuff going on. He couldn't even keep up with whose ball it was. It was really unfair. Then, about half way through the first quarter, a second ref shows up. We didn't even know she was there until she started blowing her whistle and cleaning up the action on the court. She was calling fouls right and left. For both teams. But, the first ref didn't much care for that and he kept overriding calls. For example, both refs blew their whistles at the same time. But, because first ref called time out before second ref called foul, the first ref blew off the foul. Over and over, second ref tried to talk to him and he wasn't having nothing to do with it. So, second ref left. Stormed out. Jeez! Can we spell unprofessionalism? I am thinking of writing whoever keeps up with this for the school board because both of these refs deserve to have their work reviewed. But, we all know that only second ref will get in trouble because she behaved the most unprofessionally. Best I can hope for is that if I say something, at least they'll listen to what ref 2 has to say about ref 1 before they fire her.

While the game was going on, we were sitting with the mother of one of Syd's friends. She told us first, a story about shopping for her daughter, buying $300 worth of clothes and bringing it home for her daughter to try on. Now, she's going to take back about $260 worth of it because her daughter didn't like it. She does this because her daughter doesn't like to shop and is not nice while shopping. Hmmm. Interesting concept.

Then, she told another story...her daughter came home and said Sydney was spoiled because she got two pair of shoes for her birthday. Okay, so no mention of the 30% off your total purchase coupon I had that made two pair of shoes practical. No mention of the fact that Syd needed non-athletic shoes for school and athletic shoes for sports. None of the practical aspects were discussed.

So, why was this interesting? The mom gave this as her reply to her daughter: Yes, she got two pair of shoes, but she also has to turn in her phone every night, she only gets computer access when her dads are around, she has to do homework every night and they check it with her, she has an early bed time and has to get up early, even on weekends, she has to go shopping with them... Basically every thing I think we're doing right, she made it sound wrong. That was uncomfortable.

So, I wasn't really in the mood for parenting.

But, that didn't mean I wasn't called on to do it. After the A team, that Syd plays on, lost by 3 points in overtime, my little sportsfan proceeded to weep. And, she wept and wept and held her head down long after the rest of the A team had let it go and gotten into the game. BAD SPORTSMANSHIP. At one point, Rob asked "are you going over there, or shall I?" Just before half time of the B team's game, I got up and walked over there.

"Are you sick?"
"Are you hurt?"
"Then you need to get your head in this game. The other team didn't beat you. The ref did. There's nothing you can do about that. You need to stop acting like a baby and start cheering for your teammates."
And, that's when she rared up and gave me the hate eyes. And, before I could stop myself...
"And, if you give me that look again, this will be the last game you play."

And, knowing that I'd gone as far as I was willing to go in public, I went back to my seat. But, all the other parents treated me wierd. Like moving away from me, and avoiding eye contact wierd. That was very uncomfortable.

And, that eventually stopped the crying. But, it didn't stop the morose/dejected/hate the world/look at my sad red eyes/I'm not happy look that lasted for the rest of the game.

When we were leaving, we were some of the first people out of the gym. I called Syd over to the side, thinking I'd get a moment before the hallway filled up and said:

"Sports is about learning two things. One is how to win. The other is how to lose. You were a bad sport in there. Those other girls screamed their tits off for you when you were playing and you cried through their whole game???"

Rob muttered "that's enough here dear" and we left.

Turned out that "screamed their tits off" was overheard, undoubtedly out of context, by other parents exiting the gym and I got more than one very dirty look. That embarrassed Rob. But, if you ask me, it was my best line of the night.

Anyway, nothing was said on the way home. I had said all I needed and Rob wanted to talk to Syd alone. I walked in on them talking later and I don't know how long they talked or what they said. But, I could hear the rumble of it across the house. He did tell me this morning that one of the things he said to her was that if she couldn't be a good sport, she couldn't play sports.

Rob gave me feedback that maybe I should have taken Syd out of the gym the first time I talked to her. I get that. If I'd been in the stands watching, I probably could have thought of 32 better ways to handle that. But, I wasn't. I was on the court, actively parenting. And, I wasn't ready to hear the feedback. In my own defense, I did pretty good with it, tho. I closed my eyes and thought about what he was saying and didn't say anything back (didn't hurt that I had a toothbrush hanging out of my mouth at the time). Yes, it probably would have gone better if I'd taken her out of the gym. But, I didn't think of that. I can take that in and try to remember it next time.

All I could say to him last night was: Hindsight is 20/20.

We talked about it this morning and I told him what I heard him say and he told me what he meant to say and all is good now. Except that now, we have to teach a girl about sportsmanship. Because, you see, even after I went over there, the coach just patted her on the back and let her keep crying. So, we'll do our job. And, we'll do the coaches job, too. Because we're like that. Rob and I can wear as many hats as we need to.

And, if I'm not doing it right? Well, we have a straight A student that rarely gives us any trouble and can be trusted and does what she is told and with a minimum of grumbling and cleans her own bathroom and makes her bed every day and does her own laundry and is learning to cook and watches the news and can discuss current events and is frequently brought to the blackboard to explain math problems to the class.

I'll put that up against a girl that can't be trusted to behave while shopping. Every time.

Parenting is hard. Good parenting is excrutiating.



Auntie Em said...

Lane, the other parent was clearly trying to make your parenting sound bad so that she could feel better about her own. Don't stray one bit from your path! You are doing a wonderful job.

Shevvy said...

Well I thought the line was a stroke of genius - it made me laugh out loud when I read it.

As for the other parents, stuff 'em. A kid of that age should be able to go out shopping for crying out loud.

It doesn't sound like they are much cop as parents anyway, so you certainly don't need to judge yourselves by them!

Paul said...

"Screaming their tits off..." AWESOME!!

As a Referee, a Coach, and a Parent of two very athletic young men who have participated in at least a dozen sports between them, I commend your work with your daughter no matter which of those hats I wear.

The world needs more parents like yourself. Sorry it left you frustrated, but you learned from it and that is the important thing. I think sometimes we do "Parent in the Moment". We don't have time to analyze the situation from 14 different angles, the opportunity to teach exists and we must act, NOW. That means sometimes we aren't ideal parents. But it also lets our kids know that we care.

I have apologized to my kids on more than one occasion for HOW I handled a situation, but have always re-emphasized WHY I acted and made sure they understood that while I was sorry for the delivery (i.e. embarrassing myself and them), I was NOT sorry for the message (i.e. pointing out their poor behavior).

And I think it awesome that you and Rob work together, you compliment each other, while one is being the "bad cop", the other stands by to play "good cop".

Take Care,

Becky said...

Good job, Dad! Wish there were a million more like you......

Dawnmarie said...

I'm not a parent yet, but I just wanted to say that I've really been enjoying your parenting posts. I'm glad that you're open and honest about the struggles that are involved and that you can share them with us. I love your quilting of course, but you know, I'm really enjoying the human, real life side of you too.

Keep up the good work.

LynCC said...

Yep, I remember clearly the time I learned the parenting lesson of taking the discussion away from public eye. :(

But that other mother?? Spending hundreds of dollars knowing she'll return most of it because the teen can't be bothered to go try clothes on when they're being purchased for her? That's insane!! How on earth does 2 pair of shoes for one's birthday (a very reasonable gift for a teen, even when they're not both NEEDED) compare with that extravagance? Yeah, she was just trying mighty hard (and very ineffectively) to make her parenting style look ok.

And I'm still literally laughing about that best line of the night! ;D

Anonymous said...

Parenting is hard. You did well, and your girl sounds like a great kid.

Nobody can be perfect all the time, doing well works for most kids, plus it shows that they can make mistakes and learn from them, as long as you show them how you learn from yours.

Tammy said...

Hi Lane,
You and Rob are doing an excellent job being parents. It may just be the most difficult job we have in life and like being a spouse most of us learn the hard way while on the job. Of course hindsight is always 20/20. I have apologized to my children on more one occasion after hindsight kicked it. As far as the other parents go.. screw 'em I think her remarks about the shoes etc were uncalled for and plain old jealously. It is obvious that you and Rob are great dads given what a fine young lady Sydney is. Also you are 100% correct that your daughter needs to learn to loose gracefully and be a good sport.

Again I tip my hat to you for another interesting thought provoking post, while keeping your Christmas projects secret.

Please give Sydney a hug from her Canadian Auntie Tammy in Canada and tell her I think she is totally cool.

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Linda in TX said...

Okay - remember I'm a grandmother. Been there and done that and it's tough. Good parenting is a really hard job. And that's why so few parents bother doing it - as you can readily see from the shopping discussion. You embarrass them because they're too lazy to do what needs to be done. Just keep it up - you're making the really good parents out there proud. (And just smile at the nosy ones and give them NO information - it drives them mad)

Oh - and the tits comment? I'm still laughing out loud.

Patricia said...

If more parents were like you and Rob---the world would sure be a better place! and I wouldn't be afraid of getting old and having to have some of the "new generation" take care of me!

Marla said...

You are the good parent here Lane. Trust me from someone who has been there. It is so much easier to give in to a teenager to keep conflict down than to stand up to them when it is needed. But eventually the bill has to be paid and you sure won't want to pay for it when it is due. I have read your blog for a long time now and have watched your little girl grow up so much since she first moved in with you. She will thank you one day. Mine is 25 and thanks me all the time.

Leah Day said...

Hey Lane,

I have to say, reading your post you're mostly feeling the looks of all those "other" parents in the crowd.

But here's something that has helped me so much: What other people think is none of my business.

All of those mothers in that crowd - the biggest feeling that's going around is jealousy. They're jealous that you are a man actively showing interest in his kid. Where are their husbands? That's the question you should ask next time you get a shoe woman needling you again.

Quilty Dreams said...

Lane,you and Rob are doing an absolutely fantastic job of parenting. That other woman was just plain jealous because her daughter doesn't to do all the things Sydney does as a matter of daily routine. This whole world needs more parents like you two, especially here in Western Australia.
Loved the Punch Line!

Coloradolady said...

I am still laughing at the screaming tits remark!! OMG Lane that is soooo funny my friend. Although, I don't think you found it comical....but it is funny!!

No matter what, you are doing what is best for Sydney. The right things. So what if that other mom does not get it. How sad for her. If more parents would do what you did, out in the open...there would be less trouble out of tweens and teens in general.

It is a tough road, but just look at how far you and Sydney have come and how great it is from where you started. Love. It changes the world.

lw said...

My daughters are in their thirties now, and I have grandkids. I've parented and I've observed parenting and I think you're doing a great job. And I agree that good parenting can be excruciating. But it's so worth it.

And I imagine that if I'd gotten two pairs of shoes for a birthday, I'd have felt really loved.

Jean said...

Amen to that!

Anonymous said...
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quiltfool said...

Have you ever noticed that the people with the most offensive things to say are all named anonymous? And, they all have no reply email addresses? Hmmmm. Reminds me of a storey...but that's another post.

Anonymous said...

Amen Brother! Keep up the good work.

Tanit-Isis said...

It sounds like you did fine. It's always WAY easier to figure out what you should've done after, /sigh.

For what it's worth, Sydney's friend's mom may have been just trying to point out that Sydney's not spoiled, not critique your parenting style.

Personally, I can't imagine buying clothes for my teenager and then returning them when she doesn't like them, just because she's a beotch to shop with. But then, I rarely buy my kids clothes that don't come from a thrift store...

Anonymous said...

I think that you are setting a lot of good rules and boundaries for your daughter to follow which is the most important thing for a parent to do! Teaching good sportsmanship is tough, but not everyone can be a winner...you just have to learn to be a good loser sometimes! Just remember, you are a parent, not your child's best friend! There IS a difference. Keep up the good work and don't be too hard on yourself.

Denise in PA said...

Sydney is one lucky girl - and she will realize it one day! Kids need parents who will step up to the bat, hard as it is. It's harder in the long run if you don't. Good going!

Vesuviusmama said...

I am cheering my tits off over here for you! Way to be a good parent! To the rest of those bozos, I share hat distasteful hand gesture from the good Christian bitch on the other team. Being the wife of a coach, I can relate to the bad refs. Ugh! Bad refs drive me crazy!

Anonymous said...

This is the challenge of all good parents. Kids want to win. I told my kids that every time there is a game between two, somebody has got to lose, without that there is no game. Being the losing half, as long as you have tried your best is not shameful or even sad. When you win, keep in mind the other guy who is losing this time. You are a good parent, keep it up.