One of life's depressing truisms is that everything awesome that kids love eventually gets co-opted and destroyed by adults. Whether it's overzealous adult collectors snatching up every Beanie Baby they can find, thus pricing the children for which the toys were intended out of ownership of their own beanbag camel or self-esteem hawks pushing for rules that allow every Little Leaguer to have equal at-bats no matter how much they suck (and setting the children up for a rude adult awakening when they realize that they're not the superstar they've been raised to believe they are) or pushing for a ban on slap bracelets like two weeks after I finally convince my mother to let me have one, parents have a near-flawless record of banding together to ruin kids' fun. And this week, in Texas, parents were so intent on ruining a basketball game for their under-12 kids, the crowd was rounded up and kicked out of the gym, leaving the kids to win a state championship in silence.
According to Yahoo's Cameron Smith, the series of parental not-coming-correct incidents occurred during the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's under-12 Division I state basketball championship tournament at Bryan, Texas's Rudder High School Gym. About 20 teams were involved in the tournament, which means that there were 20 groups of crazed sportsparents living vicariously through their offspring jumping around in embroidered sweatshirts and waving pompons and threatening to murder the referees. While police haven't released many details of the incident, apparently two warring groups of parents in the stand became so unruly that police needed to be summoned twice to restore peace. It was exactly like West Side Story, but with bigger hair and fewer choreographed dance numbers. Or Toddlers & Tiaras meets Bad News Bears. Or something called When Stage Parents Attack!
After the second time police were called, officials determined that the only way that the kids could finish their tournament in peace is if the meddling, shouty adults were removed from the game — and so every fan was kicked out of the gym. The final game was played between the South Arlington All Stars and the CG Wolves. South Arlington won, to the deafening roar of silence from empty stands.
I hope that these kids and parents learned a lesson from all this: whether you win or lose, what matters is that the police were called. That's what sports — and the spirit of honest competition — are really about.