There is an unwritten rule for all parents: give it to the kid. The biggest piece of cake? Give it to the kid. The last ice cream cone? Give it to the kid. The foul ball at a baseball game? Give it to the kid.
A couple of Texas Rangers fans have gone viral this week after they caught a fly ball tossed into the stands during a game. The canoodling couple was sitting right next to a mom, dad, and three-year-old.
The family was squeezed into two seats (as is the case when you bring kids to games) and the kid had brought his glove in the hopes of catching a foul ball.
The way everyone was squeezed together, the couple had to know the kid was sitting next to them. It was the 8th inning, and I’m guessing this kid had been squirming since the bottom of the 2nd.
Still, when the ball was tossed into the crowd, the couple lunged forward and caught the ball. The kid screamed (as you’d expect). I mean, he had his glove and was ready to play second base if the manager called on him.
But what happened next was not only worse, but there are actually people defending the disgusting action. See the video and read the reaction after the jump.
The couple ignored the kid. They smiled and posed for pictures. They turned around and bragged about how they caught the ball to the people behind them. They violated the unwritten rule of life: give it to the kid. (Check out Strollerderby’s explanation of why they were ignoring the kid)
When the Titanic was sinking it wasn’t couples first, it was women and KIDS first. When you’re playing Candyland against a four-year-old, you don’t kick their butt every time, you let them win a few. When you’re at a baseball game and a three-year-old has a glove, you give it to the kid.
This is the kind of attitude that encourages entitlement. Catch a ball for your own child, but don’t scorn strangers for not feeling obligated to do the same.
I wrote about this on DadCAMP yesterday and was floored by the reaction:
“I would never expect a complete stranger to give a ball they caught to my kids. Like I said, that’s teaching them a sense of entitlement and setting expectations that aren’t always going to be fulfilled. I will always give them an opportunity to catch a ball or accomplish something on their own but would never expect someone to give something to my child ‘just because.'” wrote Lola.
“Give the ball away just because there is a child close by? Absolutely not! How do you know they weren’t planning on taking it home and giving it to their own kids? Parents need to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around their children. On a plane, in a store or at a sporting event.” echoed Lee.
I am floored. It’s a baseball game, not a metaphor for life. You hold doors open for people entering a building. You buy your co-worker a coffee. You give the kid the ball.
But don’t take my word for it — check out this story from pro cyclist Jens Voight.
Finally, I saw a young boy standing with his daddy. I rode over to him and slowly and carefully aimed at the kid — not trying to hit him! I just wanted to drop the bottle at his feet so he could pick it up and have a nice souvenir.
But then, to my total disbelief a middle-aged guy just tackles the kid like a defensive back in the Super Bowl! And then, while the poor kid tries to regain his balance, the man grabs the bottle and starts putting it away.
At that point I just decided to stop my bike, turn around and start rolling down the hill again. All these people on the side of the road are watching me in awe and silence.
Finally, I saw the guy and stopped in from of him and just pointed at his bag and told him that the bottle he grabbed was for this kid standing next to him. Of course at that point he hands over that bottle and I get back on my bike again, and I have to admit I felt pretty good about it. But then the crowd just erupted and I am sure that at this moment I was getting about as much applause as the guys in the front group with the yellow jersey.
Last year, Texas Rangers fan Shannon Stone died trying to catch a ball for his son. He leaned too far over the left field fence and fell to the pavement below. Outside the stadium is a statue of Shannon and his son to remind people what baseball is about: fathers, sons, and the best day ever.
It’s not spoiling, or creating entitlement to give a three-year-old old a best day ever at the ball park. When my son and I went to a hockey game, the pucks got flipped over the boards by the players after warmup. An usher caught one, and guess what she did? She gave it to my son. The puck, 18 months later, is still on his dresser in his room. His puck. He didn’t catch it, but he displays it like he did.
Yay, you caught a ball. Pose for your pictures, brag to your friends, then give it to the kid.
More from DadCAMP at Babble Kids: