You hear it at ballparks all summer long: “Aw come on, ump, open your eyes!” “Unbelievable!” “Really, Blue!? You got to be kidding me.” Such insults are commonly hurled at Miller Park and other major league fields across the country. Professional umpires know it comes with the job. But on other ball fields, such shouts can trigger tears. As spring comes again and with it little league baseball, hoards of screaming parents return to the bleachers ready to shout insults, lose their cool, and humiliate their children in the name of competition. One little league in Glendale Wisconsin puts up a sign each year to remind parents to act civilized, and to remember that a little league game is not as high stakes as it might feel in the moment. Here’s the five simple rules and reminders the post:
1) These are KIDS.
2) This is a GAME.
3) Coaches are VOLUNTEERS.
4) Umpires are HUMAN.
5) Your child is NOT being scouted by the Brewers today.
The relatable post went viral when a parent posted it on Reddit, with parents everywhere commiserating over that one mom or dad who always shows up with a creative new obscenity to hurl at the ump. As the post went viral, John Diedrich, the little league president, reflected on his league’s sign—why it’s so popular and why it’s so necessary.
“I know our league is not alone in having such parents get out of hand. It’s a well-documented problem. And it is not just spectators. I have also seen parents volunteering as coaches lose their cool. As these ugly scenes play out, the players – the kids – are watching. The result can be players themselves becoming poor sports. But just as many players turn away from the sport, embarrassed or just burned out by the intensity of their parents.”