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I will not be that kind of parent

By By Leada Gore, Editor
In my 16 years in the newspaper business, I’ve dealt with all kinds of parents. There are nice ones, rude ones, supportive ones and aggressive ones. I’ve had mothers cry over a misspelled word in a birthday announcement for their one-year-old, grandmothers chastise me for not running the picture of their granddaughter the beauty queen on the front page and fathers who swear their child has made “A” honor roll, despite what the school says.
But no parents – none – can come close to sports parents. Parents of young athletes often feel their child is either 1) The greatest ever; 2) the most misunderstood ever; 3) the most outstanding hidden talent ever; 4) the most discriminated against ever; or 5) All of the above.
I’ve never really understood this phenomena. Don’t they realize they are just kids? Don’t they know it’s more important for their child to learn life lessons than to swing a bat or kick a ball?
And then, of course, I became a parent. Suddenly, I noticed a different person seemed to be living inside me, the same kind of person who might, if pushed, declare their child to be the greatest, most misunderstood, talented and discriminated against ever.
This person reared her ugly head last week when Sutton undertook her first organized sport, if you can call anything a 10-month-old does organized. She started gymnastics class, though in her case I’d consider it more wiggle and roll around class. She was there with other babies around her age, some of whom had been taking gymnastics since they were four-months-old.
After the obligatory roll around the floor time, the teacher instructed each parent to help their child grasp the uneven parallel bars and support them as they hung from the bars.
We all lined up. Some of the children didn’t want anything to do with the bars. Others played around with them. Sutton, who prefers hanging upside down to sitting rightside up, grabbed on and pulled herself up so she could chew on the bars. I held her as she chomped down and hung there.
She was a natural.
Shouldn’t the teacher be pulling her away from this class, promoting her to ones for advanced babies? Should we sign her up for daily gymnastics lessons? Call ESPN? Is it too late to sign her up for the summer Olympics?
The teacher looked at Sutton and smiled.
I didn’t say anything, though it was apparent the teacher didn’t recognize true talent when she saw it.
Not that I complained or anything. I would not want to be that kind of parent.

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