I enjoy people watching. I love sitting back and observing mannerisms, speech, clothing, body types, how they interact with others, etc. I never want or need to be the center of attention, so people watching is my way of learning about others. You can learn oodles with observation! Yesterday, I went to watch my husband referee some youth basketball games. I don’t know any of the athletes, but I do enjoy watching, for as long as my head and ear can stand the whistles and loud buzzers. I also love watching Al doing something he really enjoys. But some of these games bring out interesting characteristics in people!
When I first walked into the gym, it was about halfway through the second quarter, and it was pretty crowded, so I was looking for a spot to park my fanny. A nice man saw me searching, and said, “Ma’am, you can sit here!” My first interaction with someone there, and he was as polite and nice as can be. I thought to myself that manners do still exist, even in intense situations, such as a youth basketball game. That was a great way to start this little outing!
I had a front row seat, and saw Al running up and down the court. The score was pretty close (19-14), and both teams seemed to be very aggressive. There were a lot of fouls, and they were extremely physical! I guess the boys on these teams were about 12 or 13 years old. The win came down to the final few seconds, so most of the parents were on edge. It was a good game, and fun to watch!
There were two ladies behind me, but I could only hear one…..she wouldn’t shut up. She wasn’t watching the game. She was telling the other woman all about how her boyfriend broke up with her because she was no longer his best friend, and he didn’t feel right about dating her and also working with her. He didn’t feel like they would be right for marriage because it was too much work, and she disagreed because marriage is work, and blah, blah, blah! I heard it all! Then at one point, she stopped and said, “I have a hard time getting to know people. I don’t know how to get to know someone.” I wanted to turn around and say, “Maybe if you shut up long enough to LISTEN to someone else, then you could get to know people!” SHEESH! My guess is she didn’t really care too much about her son’s game, and I bet her boyfriend really broke up with her because she talks too much about herself.
Other parents love to coach their child from the sidelines, which drives me insane. If they want to coach, why aren’t they volunteering their time to do it? They’re yelling at their child, yelling at the coach, yelling at the refs. I can’t imagine how difficult these people are to live and work with. I bet they’re never happy with anything, and everything is someone else’s fault. There are a couple of parents who know nothing about the game. Every time their child got the ball, they would yell, “Shoot it! Shoot it!” even though they weren’t in any type of scoring position, and weren’t within any proximity to the basket. One boy mouthed off to his coach, and then talked back to his mother in the stands. She laid into him for the whole gym to hear…..”You better remember who you’re talking to!” He was in foul trouble, but I think he was in more trouble with his mama.
Watching people with their families, and how they interact, is interesting to me. First of all, I like to look at facial features and body types, trying to match the children to the parents, or which couples are together. There was one family that were all built like blocks….the mother, the father, and all of the children had very square heads, no necks, square upper bodies, and skinny legs. It was really odd……I had a hard time looking away…..they sort of looked like cubes with arms and legs. The mother kind of led the children and her husband around like a pack leader. They followed along behind her, and it was obvious who was in charge. Back to her later…..
Because of the intensity of the game, the parents sitting around me were very vocal, coaching from the stands, and yelling at the refs (Al and another man). I do get a little defensive when anyone criticizes him, but I think I’m supposed to. In our marriage vows, we did promise to protect each other. I think that goes for unfair criticism too! Again, if they want to do the job, then apply for it. See if they want to run up and down the court for up to 16 games a week. See if they appreciate being yelled at, called names, or criticized for making the right call! Of course, some things get by the refs, and of course, they will let some things go on purpose, especially with the younger athletes. They’re only human, and the game does need to move along. If they called every little travel by these young kids who are still working on their coordination and control, then the games would take days to complete! After Al came over and kissed me, they realized who I was there to watch, so they toned it down a bit. I guess they knew better than to say anything with his wife sitting there. If they said anything after that, they kept it to a minimum.
For the next game, I moved to the other end of the gym, where it was a little less crowded, and one man sat a few feet away from me. He had a lot to say when the game was going on about the refs, but as soon as Al came near me during the time outs, he lowered his head and played on his phone. When the game started back up, he started his criticism again. Coward. It wasn’t a very exciting game because one team was really bad, and it was a blowout, so I left at half time. One of the parents from the losing team was the mother from the “block” family….the pack leader. I’m actually happy I left before the end of that game. Al said she came to him, and verbally berated him for not making enough calls on the winning team. She was mad that her team lost, and was very unpleasant. It wasn’t his fault that her son’s team sucked. The saddest thing about this is that she is a co-worker of Al’s at school. She attacked another adult, who was just doing his job, over a youth basketball game. Petty. Immature. And now their working relationship will most likely be strained. As protective as I am of him, it’s probably best that I wasn’t there!
Watching and listening. Watching, listening, and learning. Spending an afternoon watching youth basketball games, and learning about people…..people I may never see again, but who show us so much about their personalities through their words and actions.