The writers at The Lead Sports have approximately 135,000 combined years of rec center sports experience, give or take tens of thousands. In that time, we’ve come across some of the nicest parents you could ever hope to meet. But reading about nice people quietly cheering on their kids isn’t fun, so instead, let’s introduce you to the seven obnoxious sports dads you see at every rec center nationwide.
No 1: The Dad Who Was a Pro or D-1 Athlete and Hasn’t Come To Terms With the Fact That His Genes Didn’t Seep Into His Kid Who’s the Seventh Man on the Rec League Basketball Team
This is the dad who spends three hours a day with his kid in the backyard showing him the fundamentals of the jump shot, how to hedge high on the pick n’ roll, and the art of the back cut, and who ends every evening making him shoot 100 free throws. He’s the only dad in the stands who doesn’t get that his offspring’s upside is being a bench warmer at a Division 3 liberal arts college where only 12 kids try out for the team.
No 2: The Dad Who was a Pro or D-1 Athlete and HAS Come To Terms With the Fact That His Genes Didn’t Seep Into His Kid Who’s the Seventh Man on the Rec League Team
Sorry, we couldn’t go all negative in this piece because this ex-pro or D-1 athlete dad is everybody’s favorite person in the stands. First, he’s at the very least semi-famous so people want to be around him. Second, because he’s come to terms with his son’s lack of athleticism, he has a smile on his face all game, every game. His kid tries a Euro step and trips over his own ankles? Ex-star athlete holds back a laugh and cheers his kid on, telling him it’s okay and that he’ll get it next time. This ex-stud athlete dad cheers on not just his kid, but your kid as well! If your kid drains a big three, ex-stud athlete dad reacts like it’s an And1 streetball game. You have to love this dad. You just have to.
No 3: The Psycho Dad Who Behaves the Same Way Whether He’s Attending His Kid’s Game Or In the Black Hole at a Raiders Home Game
If you’re extremely quiet as you’re reading this, you can probably hear this dad somewhere right now. He makes John McEnroe look like a pacifist at least four times a game and gets tossed with the same regularity as you get your paycheck. His face is either crimson or bright crimson at all times and no matter how many people are in the gym, the two seats next to him are always empty, even if he’s married and his wife is at the game.
No 4: The Dad Who Buys Every New Piece of Equipment for His Kid to Try and Get Him to Love Sports Even Though the Kid Just Wants to Read Science Books and Fix the Earth
This is the situation where you feel equally badly for the kid and the dad. The dad isn’t doing anything outwardly wrong. He’s just a diehard sports fan who wants his kid to love sports so they can share that love of the game together. It’s not that the kid hates sports, it’s that he just doesn’t care and looks at his games and practices the same way most kids look at homework. So while he’s in the new Jordans and five armbands sleepwalking through games, his dad is in the stands rooting his heart out but crying inside.
No 5: The Dad Who Leaves Everyone Wondering What Mailman Knocked Up the Kid’s Mom
Little Johnny is about 5’8” at the age of 12 and has better handles than Steph Curry. Little Johnny’s dad looks like the guy you see once a year to do your taxes. The parents on the team are befuddled the entire year. One of them goes up to Johnny’s dad late in the season and asks how his kid got so good at basketball. The parent returns to the group even more befuddled than when he left the group to ask. Go figure.
No 6: The Dad Trying to Live Through His Kid to the Point Where He Doesn’t Just Demoralize His Own Kid, He Kills the Weekend of Everyone in Attendance
This is the worst dad at every rec center, and this stereotypical dad is unfortunately not dying off any time soon. You know that scene in the Bad News Bears where Joey, the Yankees pitcher, rebels against his father in the championship by not throwing the ball to first and letting a groundout turn into a home run? Well, that never happens in real life. Instead, the dad/manager goes out to the mound and yells at his kid for a solid minute about the his inability to throw a cut fastball. Then the kid spends the rest of the inning pitching and crying simultaneously to the horror of every person there. Good times.
No 7: The Dad Who Coaches So He Can Favor His Own Kid
Ugh. If you’ve ever seen the parents at your rec center mutiny on a coach, it’s because of this guy. His kid always plays point guard and never passes. Is it because the kid’s selfish? No, it’s because he’s seven years old and his jerk of a dad told him never to pass. And you’ll never have guessed it, but his kid isn’t going pro either. On the bright side, he’ll be the social chair at every frat house across America by the time he’s 20.