Open Mike

The day my child made me cry

We live in a horrible, horrible world. Death, murder, poverty, discrimination and anything else one can think of rules the countryside. But with every bad thing we have there is something good to go along with it. In this case, the rainbow at the end of the line for me is the beauty that I find in children.

Children are amazing, amazing people. I have long said they are much more intelligent then any of us adults, even our beloved marijuana smoking president.

Any one that doesn't have a heart of stone, can't help but find a certain joy in being around children. They are a sort of power drink or like the dog that greets you when you get home from work, after a hard day. Sure, sometimes you just want to ring their necks for being a pain, but then there are other times when their smiles can melt your heart.

My wife and I are in a new stage of our lives with our children. Tyler and Ethan are both becoming involved with athletics. I never quite realized until this weekend what parents of student athletes go through. Although, I still don't condone the way some parents try to become too involved with their child's sport activity, in regards to trying to manhandle the coaching staff, telling them what to do.

The first experience we had with our children being involved in sports was with our older son, Tyler. Tyler decided he wanted to play football, so we signed him up for the Sunnyside Grid Kid program, which has an outstanding coach in Max Saldana. Max is the kind of guy you want your kid to be around.

Tyler was playing Grid Kid football when I was on my death bed, so I didn't quite get the enjoyment out of it that I would have liked. But it was fun seeing our son grow and mature through athletics. I can remember the feeling of dread I had when seeing Tyler get injured for the first time and the joy I experienced when he had his first fumble recovery or the anxiousness he felt when Sunnyside had to face Wapato at the end of the season. There was also the pure enjoyment I had of seeing Tyler be named the most improved player on this year's 'A' squad.

Tyler has been anxiously awaiting for football season to start every day since it ended. I am sure we will see more Kodak moments in the coming season from him.

More recently, our youngest son, Ethan, joined Sunnyside Little Grapplers wrestling. Ethan is a wrestling freak. He loves the sport and wanted to give it a try.

We went to a youth wrestling tournament this past weekend at Walla Walla High School.

Ethan ended up taking second place after being bumped up an age division.

I think I was more nervous than Ethan was for his first match, which was against a young man from the Tri-Cities.

Ethan was behind 10-7 in the match when he pinned his very first opponent. I can remember thinking just before Ethan scored the pin of the speech I had prepared for him, which went something like "you tried son. You did your best. At least you didn't get pinned."

But then Ethan surprised me and got the pin on his opponent.

There I was standing in the middle of the gym recording the match and I started crying like a baby out of pure delight for the victory that our son had claimed.

Later in the day, Ethan lost 9-2 in the finals, but he didn't get pinned, to his credit. I can remember feeling so sad when we walked away from the match and Ethan started to get upset because he had lost. So like a good dad I dug out my speech from earlier and used it to make things better.

Ethan has another tournament in Wapato this weekend and I am sure my son will be making both his parents cry yet again.

This phase is a fun time in the life of our children, even though it does take a lot of time out of your schedule as a parent. And I am looking forward to the many days ahead when Wendy and I are sitting in the bleachers rooting on our children and their teammates.

Part of the point to this column is that parents sometimes tend to get too involved with their child's athletic activities.

But parents are cheerleaders for their children in athletics and nothing more. Too often parents tend to get too emotionally involved with their child's event, as if it were them on the field not their child. After all, if you knew everything as a parent, wouldn't they have made you coach?

Don't get me wrong, when there is something wrong going on in a program, parents have every right to become involved for the safety of their child. But when parents complain because their child is not getting the ball enough or seeing enough playing time, that is wrong.

Student athletic programs will never be successful in this area until everyone involved understands their roles-and anyone who reads this knows what I am talking about.

A coach coaches, athletes are athletic and parents need to support everyone involved.

It is a simple concept that too many of us forget.


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