by SHANKARI CHANDRAN
“Snatch it Sophie, snatch it!”
Sorry, did that parent just say “Snatch it?”
Surely she meant “Catch it Sophie, catch it!”?
It was a chilly Saturday morning at the netball courts of north Sydney and it was possible that my inner ear had frozen into stasis. Or perhaps it was premature rigor mortis setting in, it really was damn cold. I thought I must have heard wrong.
But there it was again, “Snatch it Sophie, pull it, PULL IT!” shouted the mummy as her daughter and a girl from the opposing team each held onto the ball tightly, both eyeing the under-aged umpire nervously. Or were they eyeing Scary Netball Mummy fearfully? I was certainly afraid. I wanted to snatch my child (and hide in a warm bed); it was all a little too early in the morning for such hardcore parental “guidance”.
Scary Netball Mummy is not alone at our local netball association. There is also Scary Netball Daddy. I know it’s not politically correct to say this but my heart sinks when I realise we’re playing his daughter’s team. I just haven’t had enough coffee by 8am to get through his impersonation of Al Pacino in an NFL block buster.
There’s the excoriating tone, the bullish pacing and the heated huffing as he shouts at Heidi “Focus Heidi, focus! Eyes on the ball! Get in there. GET IN THERE!”
Heidi’s coach recently saw my concerned expression during a game and tried to reassure me, saying that Heidi’s father just wanted her to try her best. I want Heidi to try her best too; I just don’t want her to have daddy issues and a steroid addiction by the time she reaches the U13s.