From the sidelines: the incessant ranting of other parents

Filed under: Activities: Babies

As I have mentioned before I am a soccer mom. It's not a role I would have chosen of my own free will; I am not much of a team player and I don't work well with others when a flying ball is involved. But my children love to play soccer. Every fall and spring our Saturdays are spent attending at least two games in one town or another. Four out of five weekdays are spent at the practice fields. My kids thrive on the game and I enjoy watching them frolic and laugh. I am more than willing to spend parts of my afternoons on the sidelines reading a book or chasing Devon while the older kids learn about strategy, foot skills and team work. However, the ongoing parental complaints are what I have a hard time swallowing.

Many soccer parents rarely seem to be content. It doesn't particularly seem to matter how well a child or team is doing, if a parent is not happy then the coach and other parents end up hearing about it. The spectrum of complaints ranges from a parent's distaste for their child's position to the perceived inadequacies of the coach. The complaints are aired during practice and on the sidelines during the games. Sometimes the drama is such that I end up sitting with the other team's parents, that way I can listen to another team's issues rather than have to sit through more of the same on our side.

I don't understand this aspect of team sports. When my kids first started soccer and the coaches gave us the initial talk about parental ethics, I bought into it 100%. When the kids were younger, under 8, the parents were discouraged from keeping score. Parents were warned against coaching from the sidelines, a good idea since so few of us actually know the more complex rules of the game. The coaches also talked about respect, courtesy and modeling good behavior. To this day I rarely keep score at a game. I couldn't coach for my life. I simply can't fathom why the other parents are so wrapped up in this. I will continue to watch my kids kick the ball. I will cheer for them or give a hug when they take a tumble on the field. But behave badly? I just don't believe that is why we are here for the kids. Maybe I am missing something about team sports. If somebody knows what that is, please drop a note.

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