Sassy with Cassie: parents and youth sports

Cassie Maack

As a little sister sitting in the stands of my big sister’s basketball games, all I wanted to do was go home and dance to the “Lizzie McGuire” soundtrack in preparation for my inevitable stardom. It’s eerily similar to this moment right now, when I would rather be at home watching “Hannah Montana.” Or, I would want to, had Netflix not so rudely removed it. I almost cried.

Anywho, the one thing that held my interest throughout these weekend tournaments were the parents. Their rage was unparalleled.


Their too-young-to-be-that-mad-year-old daughter gets lightly slapped on the arm during a layup and the referee fails to call it. Each parent in the stand goes, as Drake would say, “zero to 100 real quick.”

And I am not convinced that these parents breathe before or during their yelling fits. Faces are red, spit flies and vulgar words are thrown toward the court.

I went to a high school soccer game a couple of weeks ago to see my cousin play and — rest assured — the angry parents were on their game. One fellow just kept shouting, “You’re harrible,” at the refs. I spell it with an ‘a,’ because that is literally how he pronounced it, similar to Mary Katherine Gallagher in “Superstar.”

Here are some of the most common things parents shout at youth sporting events:

“Hey, ref! Are you blind?”

“Open your eyes!”

Additionally, there are several choice ones I’m pretty sure I cannot write in the campus paper.

Needless to say, this is not behavior the Pope would be proud of.

I feel angry parents would fit in flawlessly in the ancient Roman Colosseum watching a gladiator face off against a lion – teeth gnashing, spear yielding, a collision, a battle and high stakes.

Certainly, it seems the stakes should be higher than simply a small tower with a little gold person on top sitting in a trophy case full of dust. Let’s face it, one person may glance at that award every 10 years or so, just to check how long it has been since that particular school was good at something.


If you proudly won a tournament in high school, I am almost sorry for offending you. It is great that you did/do something that you love, something active.

More things parents say:

“Bite ‘em!”

“Knock ‘em to the ground!”

OK, maybe those are just from my personal experience in elementary school. Playing basketball with a team of biting little girls was less than ideal.

My neighborhood kids used to partake in what we called “tackle basketball.” No blood, no foul. Street rules. The grass served as a space to knock each other flat on our tiny faces. One girl went home after the neighbor boy hacked multiple loogies at her feet and face. That was the worst thing to ever happen.

Can’t take the heat, get off the driveway. Know what I’m sayin’?

On that note, who wants to start an intramural tackle basketball league?

Collegian A&E Columnist Cassie Maack can be reached at or on Twitter @maackcl.