And then there are the jerks…Earlier this week, we sang the praises of parents who have made standing on the sidelines such a joy, but we would be remiss if we failed to mention a few others. The list of what we are grateful for is long but, examples of soccer moms and dads misbehaving abound. Here, on the other end of the spectrum, are those parents we will NOT miss:
Soccer moms who say bad things about other’s children, criticizing their play, their abilities or their contributions to the team. You know who we mean. There is the dad who grumbles about the amount of playing time someone else’s child receives, or the mom who mumbles biting comments when she thinks she sees a mistake in the play. When it comes to other people’s children, the rule of thumb is pretty simple, STFU.
Soccer dads who demean their own children. We once watched a father reduce his goalie son to tears. His public humiliation of his own child left us feeling queasy and the team’s goalie was now sitting in the goal, head in hands with tears streaming down his face as the game proceeded.
Premature College Talkers
Soccer moms who talk about college recruitment, starting in the fifth grade. These parents are expressing their own anxieties, airing their hopes and fears, and winding everyone else up in the process. They sap any fun out of watching the kids play with their constant talk of college admissions, a buzz kill if there ever was one. The few kids who we have seen successfully find their way onto D1 college teams had parents who kept this to themselves.
Soccer dads who freeload on the kindness and generosity of others. They ask for rides, but offer none. They are not around to help supervise, don’t have time to help with the end-of-season pizza party and never seem to be on the rotation for bringing post-game drinks. Not sure how they do it, how they live with themselves or what their definition is of the word “team.”
Soccer moms who endlessly and loudly coach from the sidelines. We believe that the kids learn to tune them out, but the parents on your right and left would have preferred a bit less volume, and pray you might keep your self-absorbed expertise to yourself once and awhile. If you don’t think the coach is doing a good job, wait for the end of the season and take your kid elsewhere. Months of your shouting does none of us any good.
Soccer dads from opposing teams who take the game way more seriously than they should, escalating the competition to the point to where words become shouts and physical confrontations. Suddenly, there is more attention drawn to parents shoving and yelling at each other than the action on the field. We have seen this once too often and it is really not pretty.
Soccer moms who scream at the refs. Refereeing kids games is a thankless, and far from lucrative, endeavor. When the players are young, the refs are often kids, as well. Few refs are biased, some are incompetent and most are just out there doing their best for minimal pay. Parents who stand on the sidelines shouting at the refs undermine the lesson every other parent is trying to teach their kid about respect for authority and the fact that the calls will not always go your way on the field or in life.
The beauty of being a sideline soccer mom, or a parent of a kid who plays any sport, is that there are far more folks bearing coffee and blankets than complaints and grievances. But there are a few to whom we will happily say farewell.