“What the hell are you doing? Make that shot damn it.”

Sound familiar?

As a high school basketball coach, one thing that is nice is that when I’m coaching, I don’t hear the fans. I’m busy. But recently, both of my kids started playing AAU basketball and I have spent more time in the stands. It can be a challenge. In fact, last week I had to move to the other side of the gym, for fear I would start to lecture a dad. Each time the man’s son came down the basketball court he made a mistake, at least in his father’s eyes. And the young boy heard about it, as well as the entire crowd. The boy’s eyes darted, his head sank to his shoulders, his pace became more frantic. “Fear of Failure” was written all over him. The perfect recipe for actual failure.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the ideal fan. I make my mistakes in the yelling department on occasion. And my husband? Well, I have to move to the other side of the gym to separate my self from him from time to time. But I try my best to support my kids, and their teammates. To cheer when they make baskets, get steals and hustle. To encourage when they make mistakes (I’ve heard even the Pro’s make mistakes). To cheer when my child’s team is ahead and when they are behind, especially when they are behind, because that’s when they really need it. And sometimes, I just chat with my neighbor in the stands and watch, grateful that I can be there watching and supporting, grateful that my kids are active, healthy and running around, no matter the outcome.

Next time you go to your child’s basketball game, soccer game, swim meet, (you name the event) try to appreciate and enjoy your time there, and think about your role in your child’s experience…support or sabotage. It’s your choice.