I was involved in the sports world for a long time; playing, coaching, volunteering and anything else that came along with it. Some sports I gave up playing because there are those still involved who can’t see that, at a certain age, the game is to become a gentleman’s game. Instead, their egos are the driving force and there is no consideration for the ramifications of injury, etc. Coaching I gave up because I couldn’t deal with the parents. I had no issue with the kids. They were for the most part good listeners and were enjoying the games. The parents, however…not so much.
It was hard to stand in the player’s box and listen to a dad call his son down to the dirt, scream and shout at other players and make everyone feel uncomfortable. Some would call that trying to motivate your child. I’d call it obnoxious, as well as verbal and emotional abuse.
This week in the dojo though, I witnessed (once again) the polar opposite of the scenario above. I sat on the sidelines and watched a father and his son both being graded for their next belt. The dad, a 55 year old gentleman was up for his first testing (his yellow belt), and his son, about 14, was testing for his green belt.
Prior to the grading they worked together quietly down in the corner, assisting one another where they could and offering last-minute advice on kata and Ippon. After they successfully passed their grading there was a real sense of pride in one another; a sense of accomplishment, complete with handshakes and pats on the back.
Hmmmm…I wonder what would happen if more dads signed up for Shotokan classes.