All Quiet on the North Face
With winter fast approaching it’s time for seasonal lifestyle tips from Pearl. I’m tempted to launch into a ‘toughen up princess’ rant, directed at all those who dare to don North Face puffer jackets and knee-high boots to light up their polluting wood heaters on a 16-degree day, but instead I’m opting to draw one’s urgent attention to a far more pressing but largely overlooked issue – parental behaviour at children’s winter sport.
Firstly, I must admit that I am more familiar with the parental shenanigans of the ‘genteel’ summer sports through my own involvement as an umpire and coach; the overzealous parents who know their children’s 50-metre freestyle sprint record down to the nth of a second, the tiger-mums who insist their tiny four year-olds can be transformed into butterfly champions through intensive training. I’m familiar with the blonde yummy mummy private school cricket set who goad coaches to make their sons bowl faster and the tennis parents who drill their darlings before each game and then argue with the umpire, ignoring the fact that their kiddies are in the lowest grade and going nowhere fast. Beautiful parents, all of them, and – with the exception of the odd yummy mummy showdown over lesson timetabling – there’s barely a raised voice from their collagen-filled lips.
As for winter sports, it’s a sad state of affairs when my overall impression of children’s football can be summed up by two things: the ugly shouting I can hear from my apartment window and the lifestyle vehicles that get dumped across my driveway by North Face puffer jacket-clad women, laden with trays of lattés for their bored friends while their husbands are whipped up into a coronary frenzy on the sidelines. It can also be summed up by the father-son soccer match I once attended where a lawyer father took the game so seriously that his kit included shin-pad liners and his competitive play landed a child in hospital. Football parents (of all codes) are scary people.
Being the doyen of etiquette, I feel my advice to parents is warranted early in the winter season and I will start with the WA State Government’s initiative that has been promoted to corral the bad behaviour of its frontier citizens at children’s sporting matches. In WA, parents are instructed to be quiet on the sidelines and to acknowledge sporting prowess with nothing more than polite clapping, a bit like the ‘quiet carriages’ on Sydney trains, so it shouldn’t be hard to adopt in NSW. But Pearl is going one better: I’m suggesting that all games be live streamed to YouTube, allowing parents to scream without limitation in the climate-controlled comfort of their SUVs – it would be just like a retro drive-in. The marketing and gambling opportunities would be endless (appeasing the shock jocks alert to anything reeking of socialism) and it is an initiative I feel ‘Our Gladys’ would be eager to adopt since she is quite the Sporty Spice with her penchant for sports arenas.
“Pass the ball, darling…”