Fall is in the air, and for countless families across the country, this means high school football is back on Friday nights. Under the glow of the stadium lights, communities come together and cheer on their boys of fall.
I don’t know what it is about these football games, but they bring out certain qualities in people that you’d never see otherwise.
Here are 10 types of parents you see at every high school football game, many of which you’ve probably shaken your head at personally.
Mr. Glory Days
I’m sure you’ve seen this guy at a game. He’s the most uncomfortable person you see in the stands or walking around because he’s worked terribly hard to squeeze into a letterman jacket, t-shirt or sweatshirt from his playing days. He doesn’t hesitate to remind everybody that he played once too, and that the game just isn’t the same anymore without him.
As he gingerly moves down the bleacher steps or through the concession line (careful not to rip his ill-fitting prized possession) Mr. Glory Days spots his former teammates and embarrasses them, shouting a greeting from as far away as his voice will carry, or slapping them on the back at the urinal. Nobody seems to remember him amounting to much on the field, but according to his stories, he was the hero of every game.
Parking Lot Mom
Ok, you don’t see her in the game, but you catch her on your way into and out of the stadium. The parking lot mom doesn’t give two shakes about football or the social event surrounding the game, so she just drops her kids off while she sits in the parking lot and waits.
This mom sits in the car in a well-lit parking space and doesn’t open the door or roll down the window except to flick ashes off her cigarette. She spends a couple of hours lost in a tawdry romance novel, completely unaware that her son or daughter is probably under the bleachers engaging in the same activities she’s reading about. When it’s all over, she waits for the kids to get in the car, refusing to make eye contact with anyone else walking out of the stadium. Next week, she’ll do it all over again.
The Youth-Chaser is the female counterpart to Mr. Glory Days. She may have been a cheerleader, or she may have been on the homecoming court in her heyday, but she’s far from that now. You see her stumbling around on heels that are far too tall for her walking skills, in a dress that’s embarrassingly short.
Sometimes she hangs out with her daughter’s friends or other younger women. She doesn’t fit in with the crowd, and she either doesn’t care or is completely unaware. It’s obvious she’s chasing her youth, but she’ll never catch them in those shoes.
Then you have the moms (and I guess sometimes dads) who do nothing but gossip the entire game. These folks stake out their spots and spend the entire game talking loudly about people at the game and people nowhere near the game.
“Would you believe Susan is cheating on Sam with Billy and oh-my-god do you see what that woman is wearing? How can she fit in those pants? Anyway, did you hear what Brittany said about Karen’s best friend?”
On and on. You get the picture, and so does everyone else around them because the gossips don’t care who’s within earshot, as long as the people they’re talking about don’t hear it.
It’s easy to spot a cheerleader mom from a mile away because she’s wearing as many sequins as her daughter. She’s more perky than the girls on the sidelines, too.
The cheerleader mom, much like the youth-chaser and Mr. Glory Days, spends her Friday nights trying to relive the excitement of her teenage years, forgetting that her own youth was actually a living hell of relentless teasing, awkward hair, and headgear.
None of that matters to the cheerleader mom because she can be as full of spirit as she wants with her colored hair, whitened teeth and fake boobs.
We’ve all seen this one mom who doesn’t have the slightest inkling about football, yet she faithfully shows up every Friday to support her son. Of course, this is admirable, but in the 21st century, there’s no excuse for failing to learn even the basics of the sport your kid plays, is there?
This is the mom who shouts at the top of her lungs, “Get a grand slam, Jimmy!” Or asks why her son doesn’t get to catch a pass from his quarterback (it’s because he plays defense). She may wonder why her son, the kicker, only gets one point for some kicks and three points for others. It’s truly painful to witness, but the one who suffers the most is the poor son who just can’t get it through his mom’s head that he can’t tackle his teammates.
They’re With The Band – And Don’t You Forget It!
Band parents can be some of the worst offenders. I know, I know — there are plenty of perfectly reasonable band parents who enjoy the game as much as their child’s performance. But there are the band parents who seem to think that a football game is merely something to pass the time before and after the band takes the field.
Of course, I’m talking about the ones who treat each song the band plays as a piece of music that’s as meaningful and deserving of reverence as the National Anthem. These parents get offended because people get up during the halftime show to visit the concession stand or go to the bathroom, and they fume when people cheer for the team but take the band for granted.
They’ll remind you every chance they get that their sole purpose for being at the game is the band, and they’re convinced that Tommy is a talent on the tuba or that Suzy is a superstar on the sousaphone, no matter how mediocre they really are.
Here’s another parent who can seriously embarrass his son. This is the guy who had a conversation with the coach some time before the season, and now he acts like some sort of weird groupie.
This dad is always trying to pass unsolicited advice as he stalks the sidelines, looking for a way into the fence or trying to catch the coach looking in his direction. He tries to get in the locker room with the team at halftime, or maybe he actually gets in during the first game or two until the rest of the coaching staff got wise.
No doubt this dad gets the stink-eye from his son when he’s not on the field, and you can’t help but feel sorry for the kid — and the coach.
The Bleacher Referee
There’s always that one man or woman who knows the rules better than anyone else. He or she forgets the fact that the referees and officials spend hours and hours training and studying, and often have many years of experience in officiating games like these.
Every call is wrong. In every play that goes against the home team, there’s some imagined penalty that goes unobserved. Even the coaches apparently miss every opportunity to challenge or argue over a play that didn’t go exactly the way this parent thought it should have.
Thousands of people attend these games every weekend, and most of them pay attention to what’s going on, but it’s guaranteed that none of them know more than the bleacher referees. Just ask them; they’ll let you know.
There’s nothing wrong with a parent being proud of his or her child and expressing it. But there’s always at least one guy at the games who is so swollen with pride — and probably a little lit with Natty Light — that he can’t help but share his pride with the world at as high a volume as he can.
“That’s my boy!” he declares to everyone and no one in particular at the same time as the team takes the field. “You get ’em 67! Yeah, that’s my boy! Number 67!” He doesn’t care who hears, and it doesn’t matter to him that you’re equally proud of your son, but you’re not shouting it belligerently.
Between the beer buzz and vicariously living his life through his son, the way-too-proud dad wears on everyone’s nerves pretty quickly, but he’s as faithful as the day is long, and he’ll be back out to yell his son to victory next week, too.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Aspen Photo
Animated gifs via Giphy