As you know, my youngest daughter, who is eight, plays soccer in our local league. She enjoys the game and is fairly good at it, which is why I refer to as soccergirl here at my blog. You also know that I coach her team.
As much as I know that soccergirl has fun playing soccer, I confess that I get a lot out of it, too... and I don't even really like soccer. Sadly, Dr. Einstein was every bit as correct socialogical world as he was in the realm of physics, and for all of the fun that I derive from our soccer league, it is, in equal parts, a pain in the ass.
This Saturday, Soccergirl's team, The Dynamite, played a joyful game of soccer. They played with determination and toughness, they played with a new found maturity. I swear that you could almost hear the mental "click". You know what I'm talking about, right? the mental click that anyone who has ever taught a group of students knows about. You know? The moment that you see the light come on and you know that you have made a breakthrough. Well, while the team was having that moment on the field, I was having a rapturous time on the sideline... and so were the girls' families.
So, you're asking yourself what this has to do with idiot parents?
Before our game started, the youthful referee (who was probably 13) came to me and said "Coach, could you please talk to your team's parents before the game? We had some problems during the last game, and I don't want any parents getting out of hand." Sadly, I already knew what he was talking about. One of the teams that played immediately before us, was the culprit, and I'm not surprised. This team is comprised of some of the most obnoxious sports parents that I have ever encountered. They shout inappropriate comments to opposing players (remember, these are 8-9 year old children we are talking about here), and they try to intimidate the referees, who are just kids themselves.
I was really pissed off, but I kept my cool, and talked to "my parents" before the game started. We were playing a team coached by a guy that has a similar phliosophy to mine, in that we know it is about fun, fitness and learning for the kids.... not about winning at all costs.
My team won the game... mostly due to great playing by all of my girls, but especially soccergirl, D, and E, and a couple of others.
The girls played with patience, maturity and smarts. They were tough. They didn't quit when they were tired. It was all I could do not to explode with pride, all over the field when that last whistle blew and my warriors ran off the field to high-five with me and their parents.
Why would anyone... especially a parent, want to wreck that by acting like an ass?