Let me tell you, man - it's not easy raising an adult these days.
You come home from a hard day at school, and there they are, parked on the sofa, playing Madden or watching SportsCenter over and over while texting their slacker friends. What the heck does "boo-yah" even mean? Who can tell with these crazy adults these days. They have a language of their own.
If I was their age, I'd be outside, I tell you. Playing with other adults their age.
As if Algebra 1 wasn't enough of a headache, a kid has to worry where their dad is, and what kind of people he's hanging around with. They're probably in some middle school gym somewhere, thinking they're tough, all hopped up on double lattes and looking for trouble. How many times have we warned them about running with the wrong crowd.
I blame jobs. Bosses just don't don't teach them character there any more.
What's wrong with these adults these days anyway? All they do is sit around and mope and argue. Don't even get me started on the clothes they wear - stretch jeans that don't even show the tops of their boxers, for goodness sake, and sweatshirts for a school they attended 30 years ago. What are they thinking?
And, oh man, do they think they know it all. What happened to respect, and common courtesy, like we learned in our day? I'm afraid we haven't trained our adults very well. I've had to lay down the line at my house, man - "Pops, if you get yourself in trouble one more time, don't come crying to me to bail you out.'" Tough love. It's not easy. But sometimes you can't be their friend, you have to be the kid.
I'll tell you, I'm embarrassed to even bring my adults out in public any more. You have to watch them every minute.
I wasn't even surprised to hear about the three adults from Sioux City and LeMars getting into a fight and getting arrested at the junior high basketball tournament last weekend in Storm Lake. Can you believe it? Cops having to be called in to two different kids' games to keep the parents and coaches from fighting!
I mean, what's next for these out-of-control adults? Parents starting a mosh pit at the elementary school band concert? Coming to blows over the ribbons at the Fourth of July kiddie parade? Smack-talking each other during the mother-daughter tea? Getting disorderly conduct charges while shopping for junior prom dresses?
You can't tell these adults anything, man. You try to teach them right from wrong, you try to model proper behavior for them. You explain that you can go to a kids sports event and just yell encouragement for everyone without spouting obscenities, arguing with the refs or taunting the other team and their fans - but it's like talking to a wall, man.
They just don't get it. Some people's parents.
Some of us don't even play sports anymore, man, because we're so stressed out trying to take care of our adults. Most of our coaches are great, you know, but some of them just yell and lose their cool. Don't they realize that a junior high game isn't the Final Four or the NBA Finals, man?
They think one play in a weekend kid's game is the end of the world, like their lives depend on whether we leave there as winners of some game. I guess they just aren't mature enough to know that we'll never remember the score of a game a month from now, but 50 years from now we'll remember the fun we had on the bus and at the pizza party and being around our friends. I guess their little minds just aren't developed enough for that at this stage. I swear, they need some medication, or a time out or something. They need to stop trying to live out their own sports fantasies through us. I mean, it's just a game, right?
Most of the parents are great, too man, don't get me wrong - but there are always a few in every crowd who always have to act out. I wonder if they know how much they embarrass us, that we worry about them every day and sometimes can't even bring ourselves to make eye contact, because we never know what kind of drama they are about to cause next. God, it just makes me cringe inside.
What are they so angry about, man?
It's not even their game. And when did you have to see police at school games because the players couldn't get along? That's right, never.
I know, I know, they're just adults. We can't expect too much. They don't know any better. But I've gotta tell you man, there are days when I just can't wait until they're old enough to be out of the house. I hope they take their stretch jeans with 'em.
Someday, maybe they'll grow down.
And act our age.
* Dana Larsen is the editor of the Pilot-Tribune.