Thursday, November 17, 2011

Key-ing - An American Sport? Schluesseln - eine Amerikanische Sportart?

The word keying had not been part of my vocabulary at all. I guess my high school English teachers didn't know about it, it never came up in any of the novels I read in college, and when living in England I never heard this term either. It must be a new kind of "sport". Let me explain this to those of you who are complete innocents like me or those of you who are foreign to these parts:
Keying is when somebody takes a key and makes a big fat scratch on the paint of your car.

Das Wort "keying" oder schluesseln in direkter Uebersetzung war mir nicht bekannt bis vor Kurzem. Keying oder "schluesseln" bedeutet, wenn jemand einen Schluessel nimmt und damit einen riesigen Kratzer auf Deinem Auto hinterlaesst...Seufz.


Why am I talking about this? Well, a couple of days ago my son's 7th grade basketball team had a game against another school in a little town about 1 hour's drive from our town. Emotions had been hot, since our team won the last game against this team in a close game during overtime. I guess I did not realize how hot people were, until we visited their gym two weeks later, thisTuesday night. From the get go everything seemed rigged against us. There were strange calls. Refs calling fouls on our kids and a few discussion ensued about the running of the clock. Despite everything our team managed to win.

Warum erzaehle ich davon? Vor zwei Tagen hatte unsere Basketballmannschaft ein Spiel in einer kleinen Stadt ca. eine Stunde Autofahrt entfernt von hier. Die Woche davor hatte unsere Mannschaft diese Mannschaft besiegt, und die Emotionen waren ziemlich hochgefahren. Mir war nicht bewusst, wie hoch, bis zu diesem Revanchespiel am Dienstag. Von Anfang an schien das Spiel zu unseren Ungunsten zu laufen. Da gab es ein paar Fehlentscheidungen der Schiedsrichter und merkwuerdigeUnstimmigkeiten mit der Stoppuhr...Trotzdem gewann unsere Mannschaft das Spiel.



It often boggles the German mind how people get so worked up about youth sports in the US. Not that I don't enjoy cheering for my kids and watching their games. But when I see how out of control parents get here, I fondly remember the days of my youth when I was on a table tennis team in Germany. My parents never went to the matches and could have cared less about the results. They were happy I had some safe place to be and get some exercise. I think my coach was the only person who ever got worked up over our team's losses.

Ich finde es wirklich befremdlich als hier lebende Deutsche, wie sehr sich manche Leute ueber die Spiele von Jugendlichen aufregen. Natuerlich seh' ich gerne zu wenn meine Kinder spielen und gewinnen, aber ich verstehe nicht, wenn Leute so vollkommen ausser Kontrolle geraten. Da bekomme ich direkt nostalgische Erinnerungen an die Zeiten in meinem Tischtennisverein in meiner Jugend. Meine Eltern kamen nie zu den Spielen und interessierten sich kaum dafuer. Die waren nur froh, dass ich ueberhaupt Sport machte und Bewegung hatte. Hier hofft jeder auf die grosse Karriere im Sport und Millionenvertraege, und viele Eltern scheinen ihr Leben durch ihre Kinder zu leben...


I am often taken aback when I see how out of control some parents get when watching their kids play sports. I have seen people yell at their kids, coaches, and taunt other fans and their players. I have seen a mother going after a child after a baseball match giving him "a-talking-to" because he supposedly injured her child. I missed a fistfight in our area that actually made it onto National TV last year...But what took the cake the other night, was that one of the mom's from our team found that her car was vandalized after Tuesday's game. How nuts is that? What kind of person would wonder up to stranger's car and put a big fat scratch all around the vehicle? I am still floored by the ugliness of this particular American past time of random violence against a perfect stranger. I guess one shouldn't put a sticker of one's team on the car because you never know what people might do if they happen to be the losers of a game...

Ich habe schone viele komische Situationen erlebt bei solchen Spielen hier. Da sieht man Eltern ihre Kinder, die Trainer, oder andere Fans anschreien. Ich sah eine Mutter, die so weit ging und hat ein Kind nach einem Baseballspiel verfolgte und auf uebelste Weise anfuhr, weil es angeblich ihr Kind verletzt haette..Aber meine neueste schlimme Erfahrung war diese Schluesselaktion vom Dienstag. Eine Mutter von unserer Mannschaft fand am naechsten Tag einen riesigen Kratzer im Lack rund um ihr ganzes Auto herum. Da fragt man sich ob diese Leute noch alle Tassen im Schrank haben...Eine komische amerikanische Sportart...

9 comments:

Kristi said...

Yikes! I really don't know what to say:( We homeschool and I never put my kids into competitive sports because of hearing of things like this. I'm not sure where this type of thinking comes from, but not all us Americans are so hard-core about sports...

germandolls said...

I think part of the problem is that some people are living their dreams through their kids. That puts a lot of pressure on the kids and takes the fun out of it...

BirchLeaf Designs - Wendy and Mojo said...

How sad Ulla! Yikes is right! Copy what Kristi says! I remember playing a game with grandpa with our kids...The game was Rainbow Land...we made up the rules as we went, after all, we all had to make the rainbow together as a team. Grandpa was so shocked and appalled! He didn't understand the "cooperative" game! He wanted someone to "win" and someone to "loose". I just don't get it...why do we (as a species) want someone to loose and feel bad?

MuddyFeet said...

Ulla, I am so sorry you have had this type of experience. It is really just a few bad eggs out there that take it to this level, and that is really quite sad. From our experience (in both recreational and club sports), the coaches and refs really set the tone. I see that when a coach is getting visibly upset about what is happening, the parents of that team are more likely to mirror that behavior or take it up a level. A good coach will not tolerate negativity on the parent's part, and a good ref will explain calls that are questioned and warn the coach about parents sportsmanship. Yes, there are people who do live out their dreams through their kids, but I don't think it is the majority of parents out there.

Kids can learn a lot about sportsmanship from playing in competitive games, and they learn to work as a team, win as a team and lose as a team. On a good team, the kids will leave the game with smiles on their faces even if they have lost, because they know they gave it their all and went out and had fun playing something they enjoy (hopefully with people they enjoy). My oldest has played for years on small, scrappy teams that rarely win games. He still loves going out and playing and it isn't about the winning or losing for him, and thankfully for most of his team mates.

I hope your parent(s) or coach notified the school that this happened at. I know if something like this had happened at our jr. high, there would be consequences for the team as a whole and the parents would have gotten a stern talking to at the very least. Behavior like this cannot be tolerated and most schools are aware of that and work to resolve it.

mrsbeccijo said...

Sad to see that these things happen. Bad behavior in parents is always disappointing.

germandolls said...

@Kelly: I know that the parent who this happened to reported it to the dirctor of our school. Our school director reported it to the director of the middle school of that town. Not sure whether there have been consequences.
I also think that competitive sports are a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to watch my son's traveling baseball team. I didn't know anything about baseball since we don't have that sport in Germany. I think it's an amazing sport. I had to watch myself closely though because there is always the danger of getting pulled into the "over-competitive" zone. Luckily our kids have always had great coaches who are just as you describe: They don't allow any bad behaviour by the parents or disrespect by the kids. We got a stern talking to after one game during which some parents questioned the refs decisions too loudly.
I think one thing parents and kids can take away from these kinds of situation is that life is often not fair. Often there will be such times when you get unfair treatment but you must keep doing the right thing and you will come out stronger in the end!

~ Robin ~ said...

When I read the title I assumed that the post was going to be about some trendy new game. Boy was I surprised. Sports are supposed to build character, but some "role models" ruin it with their immature and vindictive behavior. If the school ever finds out who did it they should be banned from attending any more sporting events.

Saints and Spinners said...

It might not have been a grownup who keyed the car, but there's no way of knowing unless the person who did it admits to the deed. Despite having lived in this world long enough to know better, I am still shocked when people do ugly things, especially when the actions do not seem to have just causes.

germandolls said...

Dear Farida, I thought about that too. I can't decide which is worse. If a kid did this what are the parents teaching them? I think it all comes back to one thing: bad sportsmanship being taught.