Three Cheers for Grandparents
by John Norberg, humor columnist s

When I was a boy and winter finally gave way to spring all the kids in the neighborhood got together every evening to play baseball.

We played in vacant fields. We picked teams and used cardboard for bases. We didn't have umpires so we played until there was a major argument.

Then we all went home vowing never to speak to one another again until the next night when we all met at the vacant field, picked sides, put down cardboard bases and played until another argument broke out.

It was a good system that allowed us to play ball and get home before dark.

Things are very different today. Everything is more organized. There are more rules.

I went to our 8 year old granddaughter's soccer game the other day.

I didn't play soccer when I was a boy so I don't know all the rules. I have a lot to learn.

Me: "Go get 'em, Kirsten! Way to go! Kick it hard!"

Daughter: "Not so loud."

Me: "I'm cheering for my granddaughter. Isn't that why I'm here?"

Daughter: "You can't cheer right now. We're so far ahead it's becoming embarrassing so we don't cheer or clap or say anything anymore when our team scores. In fact, we politely clap if the other team scores"

I have been watching sports all my life. This was the first time I have come across sports clapping rules.

Me: "Can I yell, 'push that girl out of the way!'"

Daughter: "No. You'll be asked to leave."

Me: "By the referee?"

Daughter: "No, by me."

Me: "Kirsten, run over there."

Daughter: "You can't say that. Only the coach can tell the girls what to do. You're going to get us all in trouble."

So there are two sets of rules at these games: Soccer Athlete Playing Rules and Soccer Parent Cheering Rules.

You can't yell at the referee. You can't yell at the coaches. You can't yell at the girls. You can't cheer if your team is ahead by too much. You can't complain if you're behind by too much. You can't steal after-game healthy snacks.

Frankly, parent rules don't' apply to me. I'm switching to grandparent rules. And our rule number one is: Grandparents are above the rules.

The next thing I'm going to switch is those healthy snacks with something I like!

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