Last weekend we attended a basketball tournament for “The Boy”. The gym was filled with courts, games, teams and parents. I had the chance to observe one team that was hand selected from the finest 6th graders in a certain city. One player in particular really caught my attention. He was taller than most his age, skilled, gifted, could handle the ball, play inside and shoot the “3” at a high percentage. What stuck out to me most was his humility, character and good sportsmanship. He helped other players up after a hard foul. Encouraged his other teammates and even gave a guy that blocked his shot a pat on the back. Quality kid.

As the day went along, I mentioned what I had seen to some other folks. Remarkably both people, in different conversations said the same thing:

Great kid…bad parents.

Then last night I was talking to someone else I know and the conversation came up to the same player. This person responded:

He’s a great kid, but his parents are NUTS!!

That stuck with me. It hit me sideways. Interesting that people would think so strongly of his parents. I had enough random sampling that there must be something they have said or done to warrant this response. I don’t know them and didn’t really think it was my place to dig and find out why that would be said. I wondered if our passion for our children in sports can be misunderstood. I also wondered if our passion can go too far. I checked myself and I don’t think that could be said of my wife and I, but wow, what a statement.

While I hope “the boy” is that kind of player, it was a reminder to me to always keep the emotions in check and do what I can to never have that said about me.