At last, it’s spring. The calendar said it arrived way back in March but much of the Midwest didn’t get the memo. After a long two months of see-sawing cold to warm then cold again, winter’s last vestiges finally seems to have waned. Only potholes remain.
The frigid Polar Vortex of 2014 is now a memory. In its place are leaves that have erupted from the branches of formerly dormant trees. Plants have sprouted, grass is green and weeds are growing. Photosynthesis is in full effect.
Now that winter has passed, many of us will soon be plagued with warm weather issues. At the top of the list is the arduous ritual known as spring cleaning. In addition, inside and out, critters will be on the rampage. Some already are.
Moles turn lawns into underground highways, woodchucks burrow in inconvenient places (like beneath the house) and pesky ants terrorize household interiors. Then there are flies. And don’t get me started on the subject of mosquitoes. Same pests, different year.
There’s another kind of vermin, one of a two-legged kind. Some say inhuman; others, inhumane. That’s because the problems they bring can be quite disturbing, in terms of the drama and trauma they cause. Though they can certainly be found in and around households, like other springtime pests, they are typically found in public spaces.
Warm weather brings with it increased outdoor play activities. Already, SUVs can be seen tooling around, engaged in the annual ritual of lugging road and trail bikes to recreation destinations. Increasingly, with each passing Saturday and especially in the morning, we’re also seeing more and more soccer moms and dads driving minivans packed with kids and sports gear. Sometimes they’re also carrying a major problem.
On the field is where it occurs. More specifically on sidelines during Little League or soccer games. That’s when we witness the annual misbehavior of certain parents engaged in unsportsmanlike conduct, supposedly on behalf of their kids. And it can get downright ugly. It’s sad but true: some moms and dads get way too emotional during their children’s games.
A small minority cause a majority of the mayhem. Some of them are regulars. They seem to come from all walks of life and bring with them an irrational fervor that belies the nature of the youthful competition occurring on the field. However, some are professionals, it seems.
Take former Major League Baseball pro, Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams. Being a fan of the game, I had come to know Wild Thing for the sometime lack of control of his pitches on the mound. Now it seems Williams’ nickname stands for something more nefarious, such as misconduct at his 10-year-old kid’s baseball game.
According to media reports, the 49-year-old was coaching his son’s team and was ejected after arguing with the umpire and disrupting the game for 10 minutes.
That Williams was reinstated when it was determined the umpire had also behaved inappropriately is beside the point. An ex-MLB player should have behaved better, especially in front of children. The same is true of the umpire, whatever his role was in contributing to the incident.
The point of the matter is that there are bigger emotional fish to fry than engaging in a knock-down-drag out over whether a kid is safe or out. How about making sure youth are actually enjoying themselves even as they compete? How about exhibiting higher standards of maturity when things don’t go your way?
As spring moves toward summer, let’s all try and model good behavior and respect for each other. Do it for our kids. Do it for each other.