Sports Parenting for Idiots
"Football pads don't stop bullets." Pee Wee Football Referee Shawn Henwood
There is nothing more chilling at a children's sporting event than an angry father with a gun. Nothing more ignorant. Idiotic. Dangerous. Horrifying. Criminal.
It's bad enough people keep loaded guns in their homes. Worse when children live in or visit those homes. But to carry a loaded gun to a football field filled with 5-and-6 year olds is just downright outrageous. Unforgivable.
You have to wonder, what was parent Wayne Derkotch thinking? There he was at his son's Sunday morning pee wee football game. Little boys in their absurdly oversized pads and helmets, trying their darndest to emulate the Eagles. Or the Giants. Whatever. It's too cute for words. Or it should be.
Until the parents take it too seriously. Derkotch in particular. He claimed his son wasn't getting enough playing time. He got angry. He fought with the coach. First verbally, then physically. And it got worse.
We've all heard about or watched parents so vested in their kids' sports they go ballistic. But to Wayne Derkotch, ballistic wasn't just a word. As the argument escalated, he pulled out a .357 Magnum. A .357 Magnum! Around dozens of innocent little kids!
It that gun had gone off, this story about misplaced sports rage might instead have been about a tragic murder.
I was a Soccer Mom in the 80's and 90's when that phrase was first coined. A Baseball Mom too. And a Basketball Mom, a Golf Mom, a Tennis Mom. You name it, our kid played it, from pee wee to college. Local teams, school teams, traveling teams, state teams, even national teams.
We're not talking about elite private teams either, although he did play on some. For the most part we're talking about Fairmount Sports, Philly's city league. Parents and kids from Center City, Fishtown (Derkotch territory), Kensington, South Philly, North Philly, West Philly, every neighborhood, ethnic group, race, economic bracket.
Yes, there were parents who went overboard. Got angry. Yelled at the coaches, their kids, other kids, each other. But in over 10 years on the youth sports circuit, we never saw anyone pull a gun. Certainly not a parent. We never saw a gun, period, and many of those parents were cops.
Even at the Pan Am games in Mexico City, where our son's soccer team competed with other teams from around the globe, including many Third World countries, the kids played hard and sometimes dirty, but their parents sat in the stands and let the coaches, the kids and the referees do their jobs.
Throughout the years we did see a few minor dust-ups, but only among the players themselves in the heat of competition. And they learn that's not the way to settle arguments. They learn from sports that competing is healthy. Teamwork builds character. Waiting your turn and earning your spot instills discipline. Winning and losing with good sportsmanship helps train you for real life.
Unfortunately, real life for some people includes reliance on violence and guns to get your way. One of those people is Wayne Derkotch. But to brandish a gun at a pee wee football game? Where are his brains? Not to mention his morals. Forget self-control or a sense of fair play. Clearly this idiot hasn't got any.
Imagine the horribly skewed message he's sending his own son. Forget playing time, if this is how Derkotch sets an example as a parent, his kid could end up doing time.
If he doesn't accidentally kill himself first with his father's gun.