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Published February 22, 2011, 12:00 AM

Parenting Perspectives: Class knows no age

Dad, did those people think they knew more about the game than the refs?” my son The Bug asked me on the way home from a recent North Dakota State University women’s basketball game.

By: Devlyn Brooks, INFORUM

"Dad, did those people think they knew more about the game than the refs?” my son The Bug asked me on the way home from a recent North Dakota State University women’s basketball game.

“Yeah, weren’t they a bucket full of sunshine?” my older son, Garrett, sarcastically chimed in.

Our tickets were in the upper reaches of the Bison Sports Arena, where there is permanent seating and many adults go to retreat from the raucous college kids who sit down below.

But, ironically, on this night I wished I had chosen to sit the family in the cheap seats.

It started early in the game as the Bison struggled to break the opponent’s imposing three-quarter court defense and just didn’t measure up on their own defense: The group of Bison fans behind us started jeering the referees, and worse yet, scorning the Bison players.

Now, I understand that when many sports fanatics enter an arena, they suspend whatever polite decorum they may exhibit in their normal lives. I, too, have acted the idiot during many a Vikings game in the privacy of my home. And nor am I prude. I don’t shelter the kids from every saucy word someone may utter.

But this handful of middle-aged adults wasn’t just foul; these people were mean, like high school-cliquish mean. The refs couldn’t make a call that pleased them. Nothing the Bison women did on the court was good enough. And the players for the opposing team? Well, I shouldn’t be repeating in a family newspaper what these “fans” thought of them.

It was embarrassing, to say the least. You might expect a certain level of abject cruelty from a drunken band of college students. But these people behind us were old enough to be the boys’ grandparents.

By the third quarter, the Bison women’s play hadn’t improved, and I considered leaving with the kids. But then I decided I wasn’t going to punish the kids for the sophomoric behavior of a handful of nincompoops behind us. So we stayed and unfortunately saw the Bison fall short.

In hindsight, I was proud of the boys. Despite the poor example set by those behind us, the boys cheered when the Bison scored and shouted encouragement when they struggled. They hooted and hollered and stomped at all the appropriate times and gave the women a standing ovation when the game was over, despite the disappointing loss.

On a night where the careless goons behind us made fools of themselves, I was heartened the boys took a cue from the hard-working players on the court and displayed the class they did.


Devlyn Brooks works for Forum Communications Co. He has two sons and lives in Moorhead.

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