Robert SanfilippoAs the mother of a 9-year-old baseball player, I know how hard it is to see your kid lose and watch them agonize over their errors. Most of us, however, chalk it up to a learning experience and an inevitable part of the game, while others, like New York father Robert Sanfilippo, stalk their kid's 10-year-old rival and fund a vengeance team to take down those who performed better than his son.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sanfillipo, 45, was in court this weekend on stalking charges after he got into an argument with the boy's father on the field. He reportedly got an untraceable phone that he used to send threatening text messages and pictures to the boy and his family. Creepy!
As if that wasn't bad enough, he also is thought to have spent $50,000 of his own money to foot the bill for a revenge team to avenge his own son's poor performance on a team called the Long Island Infernos.
According to the New York Post, he used the money to create a team so aptly named the Long Island Vengeance to punish the Infernos. He aggressively recruited players, then paid all of the fees, which players are usually responsible for themselves.
A coach told the paper, "No one could understand why this guy was spending so much money on 10-year-olds. It was all about revenge.” Too bad for him, it didn't work, and his team "fell flat on its face," the paper reports.
It's insane that anyone would go to such great lengths just to get their kid a win, but it's not that unbelievable. While most of what I see go on at the ballpark is incredible, supportive, and positive, there are always "those" parents who take things too far. There are those who scream at the umpires, who yell at their kids for missing the ball, or criticize each choice a coach -- who is typically a volunteer giving up lots of his free time -- makes.
They may not go to the outrageous lengths this coach did, but they're doing damage nonetheless. I love so much about kids' sports, but it's this kind of thinking and people who are living out their unfulfilled dreams through their kids at all costs who really can ruin sports and make things ugly.
What are the worst examples you've seen of parents at kids' sporting events?