A Letter to Fellow Soccer Parents

I love many of you.  In fact, lots of you are some of my very best friends.  But a few of you (and I’m guessing you know who you are) can be downright obnoxious.  Yet you do it anyway.  You insist on inserting your voice into the game in ways that are at best embarrassing and at worst, downright disrespectful.

I realize that I am not always quiet on the sidelines.  I cheer.  I mutter.  I roll my eyes when the pre-pubescent referee seems to have eyes only for our team’s infractions.  I admit I have attempted to “coach” my kids in a game I have never played from the comfort of my folding chair.

And I have paid the price.

My kids have communicated, in no uncertain terms, their utter distaste for my uninformed, unsolicited, unwanted advice.  It is clear that my involvement in their game play will only hinder any forward progress in our relationship.

After learning the hard way, I have finally made peace with the fact that there is a system in place; an organizational sports hierarchy meant to keep everyone happy and healthy.  This hierarchy of referee, coach, player and team is time tested and nobody has invited me, the soccer mom, into the mix.  I can bring treats. I can support the players and the coach.  I can high-five an excited child and I can hug a defeated one.  I can even thank the referee, but I must remember what I’m there for and it’s not to cause a bigger stink.

So why, oh why do some of you insist on breaching the system?  Why must some of you yell in ways that are, quite frankly, unfit for little ears.

I can understand why you parents of younger children guide and shepherd your players from the sidelines.  Your tiny tykes hardly know their right foot from their left, let alone which way they are supposed to be running.  But those of us who have older kids, athletes who have been at this thing for a while, should know better.  Because it seems to me these maturing players know better.  They know the rules of the game.  They know roughly where they are supposed to be on the field.  And if they aren’t in position, rest assured their hot-under-the-collar coach will tell them.  Like my daughter’s coach says, “If I yell at you it doesn’t mean I’m mad, it means I’m trying to get your attention.”

So why, oh why must you try to get your child’s attention when his ears should be tuned to the coach and his eyes should be on the ball and the other players around him?

I understand the field of play can get rough.  Sometimes rougher than it needs to be.  But that’s what the referee is for.  News flash:  the ref has been trained for such things.  He or she has completed a course and often are players of the game themselves.  And, I hate to be the bearer of what I consider to be more than obvious news, but referees and coaches are, in fact, HUMAN.  They try their best, but they make mistakes.  And those mistakes are all part of the game.  All part of being human.

So let me ask you this — can’t we all just get along?  You know, for the kids.