Dear Urban Diplomat: What can I do about parents who are way too intense about softball?
My daughters are seven and 10, and just joined a softball league. It’s rec: no future Bautistas on the team—or so I thought. The coach and some of the parents treat every match like it’s Game 5 of the ALDS, shouting “Hustle!” on routine ground balls and whispering about which kids are too chubby to play shortstop—including my older girl. How can I get them to back off without starting a war?
—Field of Bad Dreams, Riverdale
You’re not alone: several years ago, a group of pacifist parents started their own non-contact hockey league when they couldn’t stomach the bodychecking and off-ice buffoonery of the GTHL. Before you stage a coup, however, try confronting the team’s nastiest tiger parents. The next time one of them rips into a player, pull them aside and gently suggest they ease up. Keep it general (no parent takes kindly to being told how to raise their kid) and congenial: if they heckle second-graders without hesitation, they’ll have no trouble starting a bleacher brawl with you.
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