DON’T LET THE OTHER TEAM PARENTS OUT CHEER YOU!!
It’s been a heck of a season and what I have had a chance to see this year has been amazing. Out of all the traveling that I do I noticed one thing that all great teams have in common, and that is very good fan support from their parents and community. I can go back through all of the great teams and you could look in the stands and see them full of supporters. I remember when I was asked a question last year about how I knew the Lawrenceville Black Knights were a good team last year in the GFL. It was simple for me, I looked at the sideline and saw a very passionate fan base (of course I knew that was not the only reason). These are kids and at the end of the day, kids still need to know you believe in them no matter what. With your support, the kids can also believe in each other. If you hear parents start to complain and blame refs, or a coach that loses his cool, I can show a team that will lose EVERY big game.
This past weekend I saw the difference between a great team and a good team. Both teams were evenly matched. Both teams gave great effort, both coaches did a great job at motivating their boys. But Team A’s parents were off the chain. Early in the second half Team B put together a great drive, their QB looked like Mike Vick against the Packers in the playoffs back in the day (look it up). Team B would end up scoring a TD on the drive to take the lead. I don’t know why, but when that happens in a big game, time almost stands still for me. I look at the players and crowd to see emotion…that’s why I always say you have to go to the game to understand how good a team or player really is. During that moment, you can find out exactly what you have in a player, in a coach, in a team. In that moment as I looked around I saw Team A crowd start to chant their teams name like they just scored a TD. The players started jumping up and down like it was opening kickoff. Then I heard the coach say to his team let’s go get them! We came here for a dog fight and we are ready! Honestly, just thinking about it gives me chills. There is not a better moment in sports. To be challenged by a great opponent, only to rise back up and answer the call. I would go more into the story, but I don’t feel like writing a novel. Either way, the stage was set because of those parents. Not that Team B didn’t have good parents and a good fan base, but Team A had great parents and a great fan base. They came to that game with a sole purpose of cheering on their team. They didn’t sit down the entire game; they didn’t stop chanting the entire game. That little bit of motivation, along with a positive attitude by the coach, was all that Team A needed to respond to the challenge that Team B set before them. Team A would later come back and score a TD and never look back.
So parents next time you are at a game, get the T-Shirts, get the bull horns, noise makers, get whatever it is you need to cheer on your kids but leave the complaining and negative attitudes at home because in the end it won’t help. Don’t leave that game being out cheered by another fan base. I don’t care if it is just ten of you in the stands because the other parents had to work. I always tell people about the story of our first year doing Born To Compete. We were covering the Clayton County Football league championship. In this game, you had three players that would go on to be Top 100 in the country by the time their senior year came up. The Tigers and Hurricanes were in a battle and during the final minutes of the game the Tigers had a epic drive led by Jeremiah Kirkland who would end up winning the game in the final seconds with an amazing run…heck to be honest I still look at those highlights today. Either way, after the game I looked at one of the players who was crying so much he couldn’t even hold his head up to look at me. I could literally feel his pain. He gave everything he had. He had over 130 yards rushing, a great game on defense at safety. He had nothing left to give, his team also did a great job and in that moment time stood still (I told you guys I do that). I then began to hear the crowd chanting, “We are proud of you, we are proud of you”. It got louder and louder and then they started waving their flags and I looked up and it was the Hurricanes parents. That kid that was crying, that team who gave their all on just came up short picked up their head and I’m not going to lie to you and tell you they smiled and ran off happily with the second place trophy but they accepted their defeat as young men and a crushing situation was softened by parents that understood at that moment. They didn’t need someone yelling at the ref, they didn’t need someone talking about how the other team cheated, at that moment they needed their biggest fan, which in this situation is the parent. A lot of those kids from the Hurricanes went on to become very good players. As far as the kid that had the amazing game, he would end up having a great high school career and now he considered the #1 RB in the state of Georgia. I don’t believe that moment is the sole reason he became the player he is today, but I do believe that moment was a piece of a larger puzzle that has attributed to him becoming great.
So remember to become your kid’s biggest fan, you never know what moment can lead to the next. When that kid can either accept challenge to become great or he can listen to parents cussing at the refs or watch parents start fights on the sideline. This behavior will only take away from their moment. Instead put the team shirt on, whip out the cowbells and get to cheering because that is what they need to hear.
This article is strictly based on football and are in no way suggesting how a parent should raise their child.