I’ll never forget (and neither will my family!) this one time at a basketball game for my oldest daughter. We were all sitting there anxiously awaiting the teams arrival. Just to let you know, this is eighth grade we’re talking about, but as most excited parents do, our family got very into the game!

As the game begins, all is well. Everyone is playing fairly and to their full ability. The parents are all cheering, “Get the ball,” “Go for the layup,” “Missed that one!” or “You can do it!” and on and on.

These girls were aggressive and wanted to win! Suddenly, as you think you’d only see at a professional game, a girl on the opposite team literally pushes my daughter down. The game just continues on, no foul called—nothing!

My blood begins to boil!  So I yell out “FOUL! Hey ref, what the heck are you doing? You should have stayed home!” The mother of the girl who pushed my daughter down starts cheering her daughter on while glaring at me. You can guess that things started escalating. It became a screaming match between me and the other mother.

At this point my family is mortified at my lack of self-control, or temperance. To make it worse, my father (as any well-meaning dad would do) comes in on the argument to protect me, his daughter. Suddenly,  my husband had to jump into the middle and get us out of the gym quickly, so that nothing worse might happen. “Please take your dad and go to the car NOW,” my husband pleads.

Well this is the scenario we all want to avoid, right?!  I was in the right in wanting the greater good for my daughter after the other girl pushed her down. I just went about it in the wrong way. Sometimes as parents we get entrenched in the situation at hand. Our passions lead us astray. Our emotions get involved in the wrong sort of way. And for some reason, sports can lead to inappropriate behavior, as I’m sure you have seen or experienced yourself.

I had to learn that day that my desires and wants needed to be tamed. I saw how embarrassing it was for my daughter to see her mother in a very out of control way. This helped going forward as there were many more games to come and 3 more of my children in the line up. Tempering my emotions became a very conscious thing not only in this instance but in other life lessons as well.

Nancy Markel is the wife of the Founder & CEO of Families of Character, Steve Markel. She has 5 kids and 13 grandkids and resides in Denver, CO.

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