Last week I was at one of Riley’s games, sitting next to Captain Loud. This guy’s frequent phone calls were exactly as top-volume as the rest of him, from his voice to the bedazzled crap on the back pockets of his jeans. (Side note about men’s jeans that feature glittery embellishments on the butt: the only clothing item that gives off a bigger red flag about the wearer’s personality is 1) a MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hat, or 2) a pair of those rubbery toe shoes.) He appeared to be suffering from a grave vocal malady that rendered him incapable of speaking below a full-blown bellow, which he exercised nonstop as he simultaneously made phone plans to meet up later to “go over some touch points” and kept the entire gymnasium informed of his every passing thought and opinion about the 6th grade basketball game in play.

I was uncomfortably squashed next to him on the bleacher, which meant that every time he excitedly gestured towards his kid’s team’s hoop his hand would pass within millimeters of the tip of my nose. “GET THAT REBOUND!!” he’d shriek, and here would come his goddamned pointy finger, practically sliding across my face.

There are plenty of well-behaved adults who are there to cheer on their children, but I swear to god every game involves at least one unbelievable douchebag that John and I refer to as Captain Loud. Sometimes Captain Loud is someone’s mom, but usually it’s a dude. He has zero chill. He’s always hip to the conspiracy being carried out by the crooked ref. He has two or three catchphrases he shouts through the game, one of which usually involves the word “aggressive.” (“BE AGGRESSIVE, BOYS!” … followed by “GOOD HUSTLE!” whenever someone gets too aggressive and earns a foul). I am fairly certain his nonalcoholic beverage of choice is Monster Energy.

Middle school sports are proving worse than elementary school when it comes to parent behavior, I’ve now seen several where a particularly vocal dad got ejected from the game by the ref. Certain coaches aren’t much better, yelling and carrying on and dramatically bemoaning the calls while storming up and down the court as if this was March Madness instead of, you know, a bunch of impressionable 12-year-olds.

The one and only thing I like about kid sports is that my kids like playing sports, aside from their enjoyment the entire thing is a giant pain in the ass. The endless ferrying to and from practices, the weekend-devouring games, the continual need for new shoes, the millions of coaches’ emails and Bonzi notifications, those spine-destroying bleachers.

But maybe the worst part is the number of overly-invested, weirdly angry grownups. Next time I should pack a little something extra in my purse, just in case I’m sharing personal space with Captain Loud.


15 Responses to “This friggin guy”

  1. Trish on January 29th, 2018 2:49 pm

    You hit the nail on the head again! So fun to watch your kids/their friends play. The LOUD parents end up being the problem, never the kids, from what I saw for years. I had a friend who used to bring lollipops, Tootsie pops, or cake pops to the games for the LOUD adults. It works…

  2. Rayne of Terror on January 29th, 2018 3:11 pm

    And sometimes it’s a GRANDMA. I help run the rec league youth baseball and softball league and at tournament two summers ago I had to kick out a GRANDMA who couldn’t behave. I also called the cops to do a walk thru of the fields during one particularly testy game of a RECREATION LEAGUE baseball game for TWELVE year olds. Geeze Louise.

  3. Chris on January 29th, 2018 3:48 pm

    Haha love this. I am a mom who is totally guilty of yelling “way to be aggressive!” while cheering for my 6yo son’s soccer team, but I promise I am not THAT GUY. I am also the mom legitimately openly weeping when my son scores a goal or when a timid kid kicks the ball instead of turning away or, like every parent on the sidelines LOSING THEIR MIND WITH JOY, the timid kid scores a goal. It’s just so gosh darn fun to watch them play!!!

  4. Kelley O on January 29th, 2018 4:11 pm

    Spray bottle or, just maybe, AIR HORN!!!!!!!!

  5. Elissa on January 29th, 2018 6:00 pm

    Oh my, the endless Bonzi notifications! And the impossible task of finding the correct message when you’re trying to find out where the heck you’re supposed to go.

  6. Lisa Ann on January 29th, 2018 6:36 pm

    In my life, my Captain Loud is always sitting behind me at a concert. My friend + I call call them Johnny’s, because one time, at a John Prine concert, this guy kept screaming (even during the songs) JOHNNY!! right into our ears. My god people, get a grip.

  7. Olivia on January 29th, 2018 7:05 pm

    I can’t stand those guys. Loud, and using meaningless business speak.

  8. Mike on January 30th, 2018 8:31 am
  9. Jill H on January 30th, 2018 12:58 pm

    So those last 2 paragraphs have defined my life for the past decade…but I am almost done and I actually survived. Good luck!

  10. Anne on January 30th, 2018 1:48 pm

    I’m sure this post was funny, per usual, bellowing toxic masculinity is the worst, etc., but really I’m just distracted by the obscene jizzy spritz of that GIF.

  11. K on January 31st, 2018 12:54 pm

    Love all of your posts and writing so much. At a recent basketball game for my middle school sun, a grandfather was yelling at his grandson that he wasn’t playing well enough and then was yelling at the coach that his grandson should be playing more – but it’s a Parks & Rec league and all players get equal playing time. Then the guy wouldn’t let his grandson stay for the post-game huddle with the team, and after that they never showed up again. What is with people?

    I also get annoyed at people yakking loudly in the stands or even yelling things like “get the rebound!” How is that helping? Like the kids don’t know they should try to get the rebound?

    I have started wearing earplugs during some of the games. It doesn’t block everything out entirely, but it lessens all of the clatter so I can just focus on watching my son play, which is the only reason I am there.

  12. Mary on February 1st, 2018 10:16 am

    I have several Captain Louds in my shared office space. We casual members share a giant, long desk in the “community” area (community! eye roll). And I’m somehow surrounded by dudes who answer their phone “YO!” and shout stuff like “Buy!” “Sell!” “CLOSE THE DAMN DEAL, DON!”. How they all have a bullhorn permanently rammed into their vocal cords, I’ll never know. But I get to spend my days wiping testosterone-filled spittle from my laptop screen.

    At least it makes slightly more sense to get fired up about a job, I suppose, rather than 12-year-olds playing basketball.

  13. LD's Mom on February 2nd, 2018 9:15 am

    The spray bottle seems to be working on our dog, so I think that’s a great idea!

  14. Andrea on February 3rd, 2018 10:11 am

    We lucked out for my kids’ teams. The coaches and parents were generally well behaved and positive. Even had a soccer coach who told us practice was the time for coaching and correction, games were the time for encouragement and having fun, and even said, “even at 12 they are just little boys.” The one year the team won one game all season was one of my son’s favorite seasons of soccer.

    We did encounter “captain louds” at games. I remember one soccer game when a kid named Jonathan was getting screamed at by his father and uncle. I got so upset that I finally yelled, “Jonathan, it’s OK, you can come home with me!” when it was just to much to bear.

  15. Tessie on February 5th, 2018 5:25 pm

    It makes me feel like a giant asshole to admit that I HATE going to my daughter’s games. I know she loves playing, but I find it so stressful and awful! The parents, coaches, and at this age even some of the KIDS are a goddamned nightmare for someone who is nonconfrontational and noncompetitive. Also, they are MY evenings/weekends too! ALSO ALSO, my mom never went to ANY OF MY SHIT EVER and I never cared! Ugh. Anyway, I empathize.

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