When I see STUPID, I see red. Yesterday I sat on the sidelines watching a bunch of 10 and 11 year old children play soccer in the cool, windy Fall evening. As I tried to watch my son’s team try to achieve a second victory, my ears were assaulted by a father yelling at Katie.
“Get to the center, Katie!”
“Drop back, Katie!”
“Make my dreams come true, Katie!”
For the love of all that is great in this world, I wanted to confront this man who easily tipped the scales over 250lbs and tell him to shut-the-hell-up. SHUT UP! First of all, Katie looked like she would’ve been happier being at home watching a young Bruce Wayne on Gotham. Second, the poor child is at that awkward pre-teen stage where the body is starting to change, so I’m sure she appreciated her dad calling attention to her. Then I had to laugh when I heard her father say to someone that Haley would not get the ball if she wasn’t in the right position. Seriously? I thought soccer was a team sport. If he cared about the team, it shouldn’t have mattered if she got the ball.
Parents, it’s okay to love your special jewel to the moon and back, but when you act belligerent and out of control at an athletic event, you look like a crazed fool. I would hazard to guess that your child may harbor some resentment towards your outrageous display of support. We have a few of those parents on our team. One parent brings his children infrequently to team practice and chooses to loudly coach his children from the sidelines during the ENTIRE game. Another parent must think his child has the agility and speed of The Flash. His son could be at mid-field and he’s yelling at his son to go get a ball that’s…near the goal.
Team sports sponsored by parks or great organizations like AYSO are designed to help children learn skills, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. The parents turn the friendly competitions into bigger than life events which is unnecessary. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a child cry because their dad was berating them after a game. The language falling like boulders on young, fragile egos is horrific. It’s time for parents to enjoy the experience and knock off the nonsense. Hug your child and tell them there is more to learn from losses than wins. Let them know you see they are trying. Let their name fall from your lips alongside a cheer rather a public criticism.