Tales of out-of-control, overzealous sports parents grow more outrageous by the year. Moms and dads (as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and friends) seem to be losing perspective — as well as the common decency and a respect for good sportsmanship — more frequently. It’s been getting worse over the years.
And perhaps that explains an unseemly event in big-time athletics this week.
Fans of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors on Monday cheered (some wildly) when Golden State Warrior basketball star Kevin Durant, trying to come back from a calf injury that occurred a month earlier, collapsed on the court with a rupture of his Achille’s tendon, which required immediate surgery and means a year-long rehabilitation.
Raptors players quickly — and appropriately — motioned for the crowd to knock it off. These fans let their zeal for their team — and winning — get the best of them.
Following the game, Warriors star Stephen Curry said he was “very confused about that reaction,” because it was “not my experience with people of this city.” He commended Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Danny Green for “kind of signaling to the crowd, like, let’s check ourselves a little bit.”
“I just hope that ugliness doesn’t show itself again,” Curray added.
Cheering the injury of an opposing is not cool in sports at any level.
Where it is more despicable is at the youth sports level. The cheers when a 10-year-old shortstop takes a grounder off his noggin or a 12-year-old point guard falls hard on the court as she loses the ball are just plain wrong.
It’s hard to say whether this boorish behavior started at the youth level and has now infiltrated the pro level or if lousy sportsmanship by pro and college fans is influencing youth sports.
Either way, it’s got to stop.
Many youth sports organizations, including those in Walla Walla, do a fantastic job of ensuring that youth athletes, parents and fans approach each game and practice with the proper perspective.
These kids are playing a game and learning skills — athletic skills as well as life skills. They are learning — or should be learning — about life and what it means to be a good teammate and competitor.
The booing in Toronto serves as a good reminder to, as Curry said, “check ourselves a little bit.”