Some will say it’s setting the bar too low, that we should aspire to a loftier goal.
But Spokane has an opportunity here. We could become the city with a special reputation.
We could become the place known far and wide as the friendly town where parents do not get into fistfights at youth sports venues.
Just imagine how that might bolster our appeal to business owners considering relocating here or to transplants from California willing to come to Spokane and pay too much for a house.
If you have utterly no idea what I’m talking about, congratulations. You obviously don’t spend much time watching YouTube videos of parents behaving badly.
The latest jaw-dropping example came from a Denver suburb last week. It showed a surreal all-adult melee at a kids’ baseball game. Apparently some of the parents had a disagreement over a teenage umpire’s call and decided the best way to process their frustration was a fists-swinging donnybrook.
That certainly wasn’t the first such video. It won’t be the last.
America has anger issues. Or at least idiocy issues.
But what if we in Spokane decided to get out ahead of this and promote ourselves as the happy place where parents don’t punch each other at Little League games? In these contentious times, wouldn’t that make us seem like a shining city on a hill?
OK, Spokane isn’t the only burg where parents do not routinely engage in brawls at youth sports venues. But perhaps we could be the first to trumpet this maturity and restraint. You know, we could own the idea of grown-ups acting like grown-ups.
Just imagine how that might bolster our image when Spokane comes up in conversation in Virginia or Arizona.
“Spokane? Isn’t that where parents at kids’ soccer games don’t sucker punch each other?”
“Yes. Yes, it is.”
“Hmm. Might be a good place to invest.”
You can’t buy that kind of image enhancement.
Of course, if you know any coaches of kids’ sports teams you undoubtedly are aware that Spokane is not without, uh, problem parents. Coaches (especially former coaches) have stories. Oh boy, do they have stories.
So yes, sports parents here can be a pain. Like anywhere. But they don’t usually wind up throwing hands while their impressionable children look on.
We might want to tout that fact.
Besides, Spokane has an iffy record when it comes to city slogans. And this way we wouldn’t have to pay some consultants an outlandish amount of money for a motto no one will ever use in real life. We could just print up some T-shirts that say, “The city where parents don’t duke it out at their kids’ ballgames.”
We’d be the envy of the nation.
“Ever been to Spokane?”
“No, but I hear adults don’t punch each other’s lights out at T-ball games there.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that, too. Must be a pretty Zen place. People there must be in touch with their feelings in a proactive way.”
Just think. We could post signs everywhere children are encouraged (or forced) to engage in organized athletics.
“Days without a parental punch thrown: (Fill in the blank)” or “Remember the Lilac City comity code and try not to embarrass your kids” or “There’s no hitting in cheering.”
Easier said than done, though. Have you ever been at a youth sporting event and heard an overly intense loudmouth? Maybe you have. And perhaps you urged that obnoxious critic of the coaching and refereeing to pipe down. At which point you might have been rudely dismissed by the vocal sports parent who would not stop yelling.
Did you respond by punching the guy? Probably not.
Did it cross your mind? Of course.
But you’re an adult and grown-ups don’t do that. Especially when you remember that, in 2019, almost everyone has a camera and virtually all human interaction is being recorded.
Anyway, I bring this up today because next weekend the streets of downtown Spokane will be taken over by basketball games, many involving children – kids closely monitored by competitive parents.
Let’s hope everyone behaves themselves. Even if that occasionally requires some serious impulse control.
After all, this is Spokane. It’s what we do.
Well that and steal bicycles.
Not so easy
to quit the helm
I have a friend who is a longtime boat owner.
He’s a great guy who makes outings on his vessels a pleasure for all concerned. He’s owned three since I’ve known him. But for a variety of reasons he was thinking this spring of selling his current boat and not replacing it.
I saw him the other day and asked what was happening on that front. He said he had decided not to sell it yet.
For him, owning a boat and being the captain of that vessel is an integral part of his identity. He’s not ready to give that up.
That got me thinking. I wonder how many others in the Inland Northwest feel the same way.
A lot, would be my guess.
Columnist Paul Turner can be reached at email@example.com.