By Randi Crawford
I’m at it again. I can’t stop myself from discussing sports because that’s about 99 percent of my life at the moment. I have to address what happened last weekend, because it’s definitely taken a toll on my mental health!
At the moment, my son plays tackle football and box lacrosse. For those of you that haven’t heard of “box lacrosse,” here it is: An indoor hockey rink with penalty box, five guys on the floor as opposed to the standard 10, and a very small goal net with a large goalie protecting it ... the idea being that you play during the off-season (lacrosse is a spring sport but can be played all year) and will improve your stick skills. It’s a very fast-paced game with a much shorter area to run back and forth. Basically, you watch your son run around a rink beating the crap out of someone else’s kid in order to recover the ball, shoot and score.
I went to my first game and was blown away by the aggressive nature of “box” especially because you are yelling things to your kid like, “Check him, he hit you illegally – take
out!” There’s just this raw aggressive tone you embrace when put in this situation.
This weekend we were playing against a team with a reputation for playing dirty. Gee, where have you heard that before? Ironically, anyone reading this knows exactly whom I’m talking about. These kids had skill, but instead they choose to use their physicality to “illegally check” their opponents (meaning they hit from behind and knock them out), and it felt like I was watching a cage match rather than a lacrosse game. Sure, the kids would go into the penalty box, but at what point are they actually taken out of the game? One kid was in the penalty box for a combined 20 minutes? To add fuel to the fire, their parents were in the stands yelling things like, “Hurt him, Kill him, Get him” and I’m thinking to myself, “Who are these people? When my own son was knocked down so hard he got a concussion, one dad yelled, “Nice job!” Now I’m sure you’re wondering if I opened a can of wupp- ass on that knuckle- head, but I didn’t. I sat there and continued watching the game. I had been at a football field for about seven hours the day before and I was barely awake, so I tried my hardest to pretend I didn’t hear what they were saying.
But give this scenario about five more minutes to brew, and the next thing I know, a beast of an 11 year old knocks down one of our players who was literally half his size. And that’s when I finally lost my cool. I was dragged down to their level and behaved like a complete buffoon. I stood up and went to the front of the bleachers, blocking the view of anyone seated behind me. Someone from the opposing team asked me to move, I didn’t. They asked again, I told them, “No.” When they asked me a third time, it became Randi Unplugged.
I won’t bore you with the ugly details, or how my own husband kept his head down and pretended not to know me, but I’ll tell you what: This is youth sports and as competitive as I am, I still cheer when a kid from the opposing team runs an amazing touchdown or scores a crazy goal. These are children. Sitting next to “this breed of people” in the bleachers, made it impossible to sit still. The fact that I lost my cool makes me sick. One of their dads said to me, “Hey can you do that again, I want to get this on videotape and put it on Youtube.” Nice, that’s all I need, a viral video of me wigging out at my kid’s box lacrosse game. This new sports mentality is seriously ruining sports for me. Here’s to hoping that someone reading this, reflects on whether or not they’ve ever lost their cool, takes a deep breath, and realizes there has to be a better way to support our kids. OK, a viral video would have been pretty funny.