Years ago, I attended a Little League Baseball game, the first I had gone to in a while, and I vowed to never go again. Watching kids play any sport can be entertaining, and it can even be fun when the kids are really into it. I knew one of the kids through his parents, and they asked me to show up, so I did.
The whole thing was an educational experience, to say the least. There was an armed deputy at the game, and I was told there had to be one there at all times, and sometimes two, or three. That was mind blowing, that a baseball game between a group of little kids needed security, but it wasn’t the kids. It was the parents.
Before the first pitch was thrown, before the national anthem was sang by a trio of little girls, one of the spectators was escorted out by the deputy. He was the father of one of the players and had been banned from attending anymore of the games. He left with his kid after shouting obscenities at the umpire, and the deputy.
I had never seen anything like it. The adults in the crowd, the parents of the kids who were playing, screamed, hollered, mocked little children for the way they played, and acted as if the umpire was the spawn of Satan himself. No just one or two in the crowd, but more than the majority. It was the most embarrassing event I had ever been to in my life.
As if we needed more drama, a man started a fight behind the bleachers because his ex-girlfriend was there with another man. The stands emptied to watch the fracas, and the game was stopped for about a half hour. This fired the crowd up even more, and it was like being at the Coliseum in Rome, where people wanted a death match between eleven year olds.
I bailed out early, unable and unwilling to bear witness to the event, and never returned.
I was told later they began to have mandatory classes for the parents, the adults in the room, in regard to expected behavior, and started tossing out more and more of the more vocal offenders. My friends eventually pulled both their sons out of Little League, and I lost track as to whether things were better or worse.
These days, I cannot start to imagine how bad it is, and how much security they would have to have to have a group of angry parents each trying to out vocalize the person sitting next to them. I wonder what the children are learning from parents such as these, and I wonder what they will teach their children.
But the timing is just about right, the years passed would be just about what was needed that the kids who were there that day would have kids of their own right now and are the adults running the world right now.