Youth sports is full of people who suffer from the very subtle–or maybe not so subtle–syndrome of being a killjoy.
Otherwise known as spoilsport, wet blanket, party pooper, and prophet of doom.
Killjoys usually don’t recognize their own malady, so if you are reading this and saying, “I’m no killjoy!” then take a few minutes and see if you recognize any of these signs. Because if you do, let me be honest and tell you right here and now that when you walk up, someone is thinking: “Uh-oh, here comes that killjoy!”
Signs of the Killjoy-Spoilsport-Wet Blanket-Party Pooper-Prophet of Doom Syndrome
- You take a seat at a sporting event, and notice that other parents and spectators may wave at you, but they sit somewhere else.
- You start a conversation that includes whining and complaining (although you probably think you are merely “expressing your concerns”) and people just nod and smile, change the subject, or politely excuse themselves.
- You feel like coaches don’t take you seriously and listen to your suggestions. And they probably don’t because your negativity has earned you zero credibility.
- Your own kids tune you out because they don’t want to hear your whining again about the coach, the players, the refs, their own lack of motivation, blah, blah, blah.
That’s not me! You may be thinking. Okay then, let’s take another test. Listen to yourself speak next time you are talking with your child about youth sports or when you are sitting at a game or talking with parents after.
I mean, really listen to what you are saying. Imagine if you were hearing someone else say what you are saying, would you want to be around you?
This takes some brutal honesty with yourself. I’ve had to do this on more than one occasion and concluded that I probably sounded like a Negative Nancy.
And if you trust your spouse or even a friend to give you an honest, loving answer, ask them if you sounded negative or whiny.
Being a killjoy only makes the whiner feel better. It never solves the problem, never helps the coach or team, and never encourages your child. Do you really want to be that parent?