When my son decided he was passionate about baseball and wanted to play, he was two and had a full year to go before he was old enough to join our local tee ball league. That didn’t stop him from dressing up in the play uniform we’d gotten him, though, or practicing on his own tee ball set, or asking every waking minute when the day would come that he would finally join a Real Live Team. So when the time came for him to join a Real Live Team, I was
relieved excited for him. The only thing I dreaded about our foray into organized sports was the Sideline Parent. Parenting is a competitive sport in and of itself, and the competition is only magnified on the playing field.
We all know a Sideline Parent. This is the parent who takes the game just a little too personally. This is the parent who shouts over the coach at his (or her) kid about proper form and keeping an eye on the ball this time and WIN! WIN! WIN! Thankfully, Sideline Parenting is relatively tame at the tee ball level. The worst of it was one dad who consistently complained to all of us other parents about the coach’s coaching style. Practice after practice, game after game, he had one complaint after another. But after I suggested that he put his expertise to use and volunteer his time the following season to coach the team, he didn’t seem to have so many opinions. It was weird. For the most part, though, both the kids and the parents were good sports, and each game ended with each team doing a cheer for the other. Such wasn’t quite the case after a Catholic Youth Organization basketball game in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Her second calling? Sideline Parent.
After his son’s 6th grade team lost the game, and as both teams’ players took to the court to shake hands in a show of sportsmanship, Timothy Lee Forbes, 34, approached the winning team’s coach and began to assault him violently. As several 10-12 year olds cried after being knocked to the ground in the scuffle, Forbes hit the coach — who recognized Forbes as an assistant coach, although the Catholic Youth Organization denies he was ever officially on their roster — in the face and chest. Bystanders were able to pull Forbes off the coach, but not before Forbes bit a piece off the coach’s ear. Then he ran off, presumably after an internal monologue that went something like this:
“Holy shit*, I just bit off some dude’s ear.”
A good rule of thumb: if your life ever starts to resemble this guy’s? Just run.
The coach — whose identity has been withheld — was taken to the emergency room where he underwent surgery to reattach his ear. He has since returned home and is reported to be in good spirits despite, you know, HAVING HIS EAR BITTEN OFF AT A 6TH GRADE BASKETBALL GAME.
Forbes turned himself in to police and will face charges including disorderly conduct, assault and battery, and felony mayhem. A hearing will be held this week to determine whether he can be released on bail. According to police, Forbes has a criminal record. His attorney denies it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true. I mean, surely one works his way up to such an offense. A little traffic violation here, a petit larceny there, then severing human flesh with your teeth.
After a season of tee ball, my son isn’t keen to play again, and despite how cute he looked in his little uniform, I’m not too disappointed. While this one is obviously an extreme case, I’ve heard from friends with older kids how much worse Sideline Parenting gets the older the kids are. It was already all I could do not to lose it on Tee Ball Sideline Dad week after week. Do you guys see this behavior in your communities? How do you deal with The Sideline Parent?
*Pun. I didn’t intend it, but I’ll take it.