DEAR ABBY: I recently took my father to my 11-year-old son's Little League game. While my son's team was at bat, a ball was hit up the first base line. The first baseman made a gallant attempt to catch the ball, but missed and it went into the outfield.
The right fielder stopped the runner at second base, and my father shouted to the first baseman, "You should have made that play!"
Concerned that he would hurt the boy's feelings, I told Dad he shouldn't shout at the boy. My father then became angry with me and said the boy needs to know that he "screwed up" so he would "learn from his mistakes."
My father's loud lecture embarrassed me. I told him after he calmed down that I would be sitting in the bleachers. A few minutes later, I looked for him and saw that he was walking home. I had driven him to the game. We have not spoken since.
I feel it is the coach's responsibility to instruct the players. Parents who attend should be supportive, not negative. Was I wrong to defend the boy and "insult" my father? -- FRUSTRATED LITTLE LEAGUE DAD
DEAR FRUSTRATED: The job of parents and grandparents at children's sporting events is to cheer them on. Your father's remarks were not helpful. They were hurtful to the first baseman's self-esteem. The boy couldn't help but know that he goofed.
Call your father and point out to him that he didn't like being corrected in public -- he got angry and walked home -- so why would he think a young first baseman would appreciate being yelled at by a stranger? Perhaps that will help him view his actions in a different light. If it doesn't, buy him some peanuts and Cracker Jack -- and leave him home.