Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dr. Jekyll and Soccer Mom

What is it about sporting events that makes normally lovely and sane parents go completely berserk? I remember being on a soccer team when I was younger, say pre-teen into teen teen years, and I can recall certain parents that would be a constant presence on the sidelines. Yelling, shouting, giving their kids suggestions, then orders and finally demands. Eventually, tired of not being able to hear my coach because of some of these parents, well, especially one parent, while I was in the game, I eventually shouted at them to shut up. I think my language may have been a bit strong for the situation. That, plus the fact the a 13 year old was shouting at an adult to shut up, did not go over well.
Especially with the adult in question. Yeah. He was mad.
But I'm older now, and a soccer parent myself, so I see things a little differently.
A very little differently.
Look, if you are a parent, and you want to shout encouragement to your kid while they are on the field playing a sport, that's great! Go to it! You should support your child, make him or her feel good, make them feel great, let them know you care. Shout out 'Attaboy!' and 'Go [kid] go!' and 'That's the way to play, [fill in your child's name here]! Way to go, way to show 'em how it's done!'.  That's all great, and it's what every child needs.
What they do not need is to hear what is in their world a voice of command screaming at them from the sideline telling them where they need to be, what to do and how to do it.
Oh, wait, yes they do. It's called being the Coach.
The kids have a coach, and he's doing the same thing you're doing right now; shouting instructions from the sideline. You had your chance, you could have signed up to be a soccer coach, but you didn't. You may know the game backwards and forwards, but you couldn't be bothered to put in the time investment of having to go to every practice, every game, every league meeting. But that guy across the field from you, who is trying to call out instructions to your child, could be bothered, and did put in that time investment. And if you are yelling loud enough to drown him out in your child's ears, and you are actually countermanding the things he is shouting out onto the field, then I have a message for you:

Shut the @#$% up.

You had your chance, you didn't take that golden opportunity to lead an entire team of children, so just shut up. You are hurting your child, hurting the team, and making the other parents around you hate your guts. If you are, like the woman who sat just two chairs down from me this afternoon, instructing your child to go get the ball while the coach is trying to get him to stay in position, saving your 'Attaboys' for when he manages to steal the ball time and again from his own teammates, and encouraging him to run himself ragged playing every position on the field rather than just sticking with his own, then I am spending the whole game wishing I did have those Jedi mind powers I was talking about yesterday. If I did, I'd have had you running back and forth to those jiffy-johns across the park for the whole game. If that stuff has to come out of you somehow, I'd prefer it be the traditional way, rather than you shouting it all out.

'Nuff said.

Talk to you later!

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