• Jon Cohn

    Jon Cohn

Updated 7/14/2022 10:49 AM

Ahhhh, the joys of midsummer. A time for relaxation, fun in the sun and those great lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

So, what better time to upset this panoramic scenario just a bit, and bring to you my slightly annoying, but definitely on-point Pet Peeves: Summer Sports Edition? Basically, this is a quick look at some behaviors and actions that maybe need to be evaluated, if not completely eradicated.


The Micro-Vision Line Guy

This is the guy or girl in tennis, pickleball, or paddle tennis who consistently calls the ball loudly "out!", when the ball is right near the line on a close call.

My thought here is: Take it easy "ace eyes" and chill. A reminder that the rule in these sports is, if any part of the ball hits any part of the line it is good. In other words, especially when playing recreationally with friends, "if it's close, it's good."

But too often, we have the overcompetitive champ (chump?) who thinks he has laser eyes and immediately points away from the court and confidently yells "out!", thus signaling a point for him?

No champ (chump?), it's actually good. In all likelihood, part of the ball touched the line and no one needs you to be micro-vision man. You're playing at Johns Park, not Wimbledon. Don't be that guy.

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The Over-Analyzing Green Guru

You've seen him out on the golf course, maybe you've played with him, maybe you are him! This is the recreational genius who ponders and analyzes every golf shot, as if he were the second coming of Tiger Woods.

Then, after taking proper aim for 30 seconds or more, has to take his mandatory three practice swings. C'mon, my man! Just get up there at hit the ball and remember there is another foursome playing right behind you and they would like to get home before dinner -- and they teed off at 8 a.m.!

The Swimming Pool Space Taker Upper

This is the mom, dad or significant other at the public pool on a crowded day who grabs and accumulates chairs, snarfing them up like they are scoring points in a Pac-Man video game. They then proceed to put like one towel or one piece of clothing on each chair.

Meanwhile the nice mom with her kids who showed up a little bit after the "chair picker upper" has to now somehow find a way to keep three kids and all their belongings on the one small chair that remains left. Not cool.


The Baseball Pacer

This is the way-too-serious adult, usually a dad, who while watching their kids playing in a nice house league baseball or softball game can't find it within themselves to simply sit with the other parents and socialize. No, the game is too important. They pace nervously behind the bleachers or behind the backstop, with a serious expression and body language wrapped tighter than cellophane packaging, all while silently or not-so-silently questioning every managerial move made by the coaches.

To this I say, relax. Take a deep breath, enjoy the sunshine and have a seat with the other parents.

The Two Wheeler Rules Abuser

OK, Mr. or Ms. Bicycle enthusiast, we do love the fact that you are out there enjoying some good healthy exercise. Completely appreciated, BUT, if you are going to bicycle on the same streets that we drive on with our not so environmentally healthy automobiles, you then must follow the rules of the road just like the rest of us!

No going through red lights or stop signs like you're competing in the Tour de France, and no weaving in and out of cars like you're Lindsey Vonn competing in the Olympic downhill ski slalom.

Now, if you want to bicycle on the sidewalk? Or a biking path? Then have at it, but if you choose to be on the road with the rest of us exercise-deprived drivers, then follow our rules. Note: This is not up for debate

The Skateboarder Hoarder

In a recent column, we complemented the young skateboarders and talked about it being very much an up-and-coming sport. But now? We must take a step back and bring some unwanted thunder to you gladiators of the sidewalks.

First of all, a quick request: Please do not attempt to perfect your craft in the middle of a public place, where folks including little kids and senior citizens are out and about trying to enjoy the day or evening. I have seen numerous times in our suburban downtowns, shopping centers, parks etc. where young skateboarders are flipping, flying, jumping, twisting and turning, all within proximity to many of the innocent folks trying to enjoy some peaceful outdoor time. Often the young skateboarders are falling and crashing as they try to perfect their craft and, worse yet, often the skateboard itself goes airborne. That thing is a dangerous missile that can no doubt do damage.

At a skateboard park? Or even downtown, when nobody is around (I won't speak to damage of public property), not so much a problem, so feel free to go for it. But, please, not while we are sitting close by trying to enjoy an ice cream cone on a nice quiet summer evening!

The Playground Helicopter Parent

This is the parent, and there seems to be at least one every time I go to a park, who suddenly thinks they are the self-ordained "playground police." They start directing, instructing, controlling and even sometimes disciplining other kids who are playing, whose parents happen to be right there watching! You may be well-intended, Mr. or Ms. Wizard of the Wood Chips, but step back, ease up on the authority fix, and remember: This playground is for ... the kids! Let them work out the differences, and any arguments that may ensue.

The Baron Of The Barbecue

We all love a good backyard barbecue. It is about as hot dog, apple pie, Americana as you can get. And we appreciate the host who is barbecuing and all the effort he puts into it. But the "baron of the barbecue" guy, who takes himself a little too seriously, can honestly be a bit annoying.

We are speaking here of the master chef wannabe, who is decked out with the white chef hat and funny apron that says something like "Caution: extremely hot -- and so is the food!" or "Daddio of The Paddio." He is so proud of the food he is cooking that he is putting on a show, making jokes, yelling at family members and drinking any beverage within a six-foot radius.

Unfortunately, the next thing you know the burgers are burned, the dogs are dried, and the nice big chicken breasts have shriveled into a sad black charcoal abyss about 1/3 the original size. Again, we appreciate all the effort big fella, but stick to the task at hand!

I have plenty more I can add, but this should suffice. Next week? I promise to be back with a smile.

• Jon Cohn of Glenview is a coach, retired PE teacher, sports official and prep sports fan. To contact him with comments or story ideas, email

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