Confessions of a soccer parent

Filed under: Big Kids

Ellie is about to begin her second season playing soccer. Before she will be allowed on the field, I am required to attend an orientation class for parents. I did this last year, so I know the drill. We will all watch a video illustrating what not to do on the sidelines.

The director of the program wants to make sure we don't take the game too seriously and spoil the fun for our kids. Parent tirades are not acceptable and we shall maintain our cool at all times. Got it. We will not try to encourage our children to "run!" or "get it!", as this will diminish their enjoyment of the game. I didn't realize this was a bad thing, but okay, I won't do it. She is only six and besides, I am not that kind of parent.

Last year, I attended the orientation meeting with a friend, and together we chuckled through the presentation. What kind of crazy sports fans do they think we are? We just want to see our cute little girls in their adorable soccer uniforms running around kicking the ball and having fun. We don't care if they are any good at it.

Or so we thought. Something strange happened when the games actually began. At one point, there was an opening for Ellie to get the ball and I heard someone yelling "get it, get it!". I looked around to see who was diminishing my kid's enjoyment and to my utter horror, I realized it was ME. Without even being aware I was doing it, I was pressuring her to do better. And I wasn't the only one. My husband's mouth was wide open as were the mouths of all the parents around me. As soon as that ball started rolling we all lost our minds.

After the game, I asked Ellie if she heard us and if it bothered her. Yes on both accounts. I vowed to do better, but it was difficult. I kept getting caught up in the excitement of the game. I just couldn't help myself.

This year will be different. I will tape my mouth if necessary. I really do just want her to have fun and I don't want to be the reason she gives up on the game.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.