Spend enough time on the sidelines of any youth sports program and you can quickly witness the one aspect of the bizarre sociological petri dish that is parenting. Quiet parents. Loud parents. Encouraging parents. Discouraging and even bullying parents. They’re all there, all in the name of the children. It’s the cultural equivalent of Tea Partiers and Crazy Left Wing Liberals all crying their own vitriol in the name of freedom. As soon as a parent pulls out that trump card — you know “that” one, the “I’m doing this for the children” trump card — arguments lose all standing.

What would be very interesting, however, would be to see the results and effects of youth sports if there was total silence on the sidelines. Not cheering for cheering’s sake. Not cheering only for the good plays. Total silence. Let the kids play. No pressure for little Johnny to live up to his father’s high expectations. No screaming from Johnny’s dad whose trying to relive his own past glory days through little Johnny.

We all feel for little Johnny, and there’s a little of Johnny’s dad in all of us. It’s impossible to not bring the effects of your own childhood to how you parent.

But when you really take a look at youth sports, across the board, if you look at it honestly, there’s only one thing that really ruins them: parents.

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