Be a good sport. Or I'll punch you in the throat.

It all started when our team made its first goal.

The other team parents decided they didn't like our coaches. All of the refs were making bad calls. You name it, they had a problem with it.

At halftime, one of the mothers stomped over to one of the refs, and complained about our coach, saying that she yells too much. She yells instructions to the kids; she has to be loud. Our soccer games are not held in a library. As the ref put it, "the coach is coaching." The mom said "Well I have a problem with it!" And he basically told her to get over it.

So then it just got worse. They made cracks about our kids, saying all of the calls were going in our team's favor...a constant barrage of smart remarks. The head ref apparently got tired of it, and had to go talk to them and threaten to remove them from the game. They continued to yell at him as he walked away.

Did I mention yet that this is an 11 & under soccer game?

You know how if someone repeatedly pokes you in the same spot over, and over, and over....you're going to eventually snap?

I snapped. I told them they were teaching their kids poor sportsmanship. I told them they needed to remember it was a GAME and these were CHILDREN. And that the children had to learn to lose as well as win, and learn to be GOOD sports.

Of course, I'm sure it went in one ear and out the other. John eventually pulled me away from the madness.

Our team won, 2-1, and it was a totally deserved win.

Last year, our team lost, many times. That's how it goes, in sports. And in life, for that matter.
I just don't understand parents like that. There are no college scholarships riding on these games. In fact, there is absolutely nothing riding on these games. The coaches are volunteers. The refs get paid by the league. The kids, again, are 11 or younger. Many times when the game is over, they cheer and dance and then ask "Who won?" They rarely know the score. The purpose is learning, being active, and having FUN.

I think next game I'm going to sit FAR away from the opposing team's parents! Although my friend (& pastor's wife!) is having a great time telling everyone I almost got in a fight at the kids' soccer game.

"Good coaches teach respect for the opposition, love of competition, the value of trying your best, and how to win and lose graciously."
- Brooks Clark

"If you win through bad sportsmanship, that's no real victory."- Babe Didrikson Zaharias

"When you win, say nothing, when you lose, say less."- Paul Brown

"Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can't tell whether he won or lost, when he carries himself with pride either way."-Jim Courier

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Tammie said...

ugh! this is one of the things that turns me off of organized sports for my kids. i hate hearing stuff like this. but kudos to you for standing up and being the voice of reason, even if it did fall on deaf ears.

my bff's son does baseball and at one of their recent games the other teams coach actually told a child to *uck off! can you believe it? i know the bad eggs are few and far between, but they give everyone a bad reputation.

Elaine A. said...

So far we haven't come across this but my guy is only 7 so I think most of the parents KNOW that they are just having fun out there.

I'm sorry that you had to experience that - no fun! But your little player sure is cute! :)

debi9kids said...

Good for you!
UGH. I can't stand that parents are like that! This is what's wrong with so many kids today... their parents just won't let them play anymore...

Amy said...

Most sports associations have governing bodies to address situations like this. It is that coaches responsibility to keep the parents of his team in line. I can't tell you how many times I heard my boys coaches say that good sportsmanship starts with the parents and if ANY parent on their team ever acted like what you just described, the coach would bench their child and/or the parent would be requested to leave.

Call your association.

Cecily R said...

Oof. Yuck! That just makes what should be such a great memory for all of those kids (on both teams) ugly. I feel bad for the kids of those parents. What they must be learning...it's so sad!

Sherrismiles said...

That is truly disgusting behavior by adults. I'm glad you called them out on their behavior. Someone had to give it to them straight! Like you said, maybe it went in one ear and out the other in most, but sometimes you have that one person that followed along because they didn't know what else to do. Peer pressure. Maybe, that was the person that heard your reasoning and went home and thought about how shameful they behaved.

I say...you go wityer bad self!

Brandy@YDK said...

oh man. what a pain. their attitude can totally ruin a game.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure I would have paid to see that fight!

The title of this entry has be laughing so hard. Seriously. I can't stop laughing.

Anonymous said...

OMG we deal with this all the time in travel soccer!! There are two localities nearby where the parents are VICIOUS. I hate when we play them b/c I'm always worried I might punch someone in the throat...seriously. It doesn't matter if we're winning or losing...they're always like that. Yours sounds like league parents (is that right?)...I would definitely talk to the governing board. Our refs take NO CRAP and throw parents out for this all the time in travel soccer. I have no problem with that either.

blueviolet said...

I don't understand that either. The parents are supposed to be there in support and for entertainment. They get way too carried away!

Diane said...

I've had to bite my tongue many, many times during my boys' games and never because of a child.
One mom actually grabbed the fence at a baseball game and started screaming and yelling at the umpire, complete with the vein popping out in her forehead. It was embarrassing.

Celeste said...

Urghh! A tale heard unfortunately too often w/organized sports. Because of episodes like this, makes me not miss it one bit. Thanks for sharing! Hope you hop on over to shallowOcity
and say Hi!


Tara R. said...

This aspect of organized sports is something I DO NOT miss. Parents need to remember these are children, playing a game... it is not life or death. There are no pro scouts looking for the next great athlete. It is sucking all the fun out of the game for everyone.

Shawna said...

It is a victory when kids are active in any way these days. Bravo for just getting them to do something outside. :)

Myya said...

Good for you for saying something, maybe those parents went home & thought about it & then felt bad for their actions. Probably not, but maybe you got through to at least one of them. It is TOALLY about sportsmanship & the kids having fun so awful when people make it anything other then that!

shortmama said...

I dont understand parents like that! How do they get through life? Obviously they complain through it!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I think parents have their own issues and are pushing them onto their kids. They should just be playing and having fun. We can't win them all, that's life. I love that you spoke up, you go girl!!!

Matty said...

I've been involved in youth sports most of my life. First as a player in little league baseball and school wrestling, and then as a coach in baseball and basketball. I also umpired baseball and officiated wrestling. Trust me on this....nothing has changed from then to now. Parents have and always will be the biggest headache in youth sports. Not only does their behavior insult and irratate the coaches who volunteer their precious time to teach the kids, but more importantly, it sets a bad example for their children. All for a game that no one will remember 10 years from now, or even next week. Bravo to you for speaking up.

Karen and Gerard said...

Sometimes I think parents ruin the fun. Kids should just play with their friends without organized sports and they'd have a whole lot more fun! They really don't need the coaches, refs, and the pressure from their parents. It's really sad how parents and some coaches have a way of taking all the fun out of it.

Mrs4444 said...

Thankfully, my soccer coaching days were numbered; I only had to do it one season, back when Kyle was more interested in picking dandelions than being goalie :)