Tag Archives: game

The new trend in soccer spectating….

@EllenWeeren

I am not sure if spectating is a word, but you know what I mean – parents on the sideline.

I know. Oy.

At the past two games my daughter has played in, the parents from the opposing team sat on our girls side of the field. In fact, it is the third time this season it has happened.

Now, this certainly isn’t a crime against humanity. But it is annoying.

Bowling and golf have understood rules of etiquette. No one has to explain that you wait until the guy next to you bowls before you head down the lane. No one has to say “shhh” when someone is putting.  (Because sports etiquette is largely common sense.)

And no one should have to invite parents from the opposing team to sit on the side where their girls are sitting. Really.

My kids all started soccer when they were four. My experience has pretty much been that parents have mostly self-regulated and sat with parents from their own team.

It just makes sense. We are like-minded in our cheering for and disappointment of referee calls. We can mumble amongst ourselves about what is working and what is not working. We can be proud together.

We get half of the field – you get half of the field – like the invisible line my dad used to draw down the backseat of the car. Even steven. No crossing over. Not even if your arse is on fire. Stay on your side and we’ll have a peaceful ride.

The soccer league my daughter plays in has even incorporated this backseat guideline into its rules – they have drawn a not-so-invisible 50-yard line – parents are to sit on the same half of the field their kids are sitting on.

But then there’s this new trend that’s emerging. And it’s problematic. It creates immediate tension. Unnecessary tension. And parents feign ignorance. They claim not to know the rule – it’s only been that way forever – they claim to not understand why it makes perfect sense.  And then they go on to prove exactly why it makes p.e.r.f.e.c.t. sense. Hmmm.

When our hearts jump out of our bodies, put cleats on, and play a game of soccer, we are never going to see the game in the same away as another parent whose heart has jumped out of her body and put cleats on to play a game of soccer against our child. We just aren’t.

And that is fine. It’s really as it should be.

However, we don’t have to sit right next to each other.

The past two games have been especially disappointing.

In the first game, the parents of the other team lined up about 15 feet behind us. They had to stand to watch the game because they couldn’t see over us. No one sat on the other half of the field. Literally, everyone was on one side of the 50-yard line. They disagreed with calls and loudly commented on nearly everything, including our girls. It was distracting and obnoxious.

In the second game, we were in a high school stadium in bleachers – plenty ‘o room to sit. However, the parents from the other team sat at the very end of the field – across from where our girls were. We sat closer to the fifty yard line on our side of the field. But it was still too close.

These parents yelled at the ref, even claiming his calls were “impossible”. They yelled when they felt something should have been called in favor of their team and wasn’t. They cheered for their own girls when they fouled our team, encouraging them to “keep it up, all day long”. They were encouraging their girls to foul our girls – and hard.

That is where I draw the line. Encouraging a child to go after another child is not okay. It’s just not.

The best moment of the game was when the ref stopped the game for a foul. They thought it was going in their favor. The other parents cheered and stomped on the metal bleachers… until the ref pulled out a yellow card and presented it to a girl on their team. Ahem.

The blokes, the beer, and the bobby………..

Today this little corner of the blogosphere is going to be called “A Reason To Light(en up).”

It’s been a little heavy around these parts and my snarky side went on a vacation. She’s back today. There will be no talk of poverty or sadness.

Just the tale of the blokes, the beer, and the bobby.

Number One Hubby is a big fan of major sporting events so when he heard that Manchester United was going to play Barcelona in an exhibition game, and that we had the chance to way overpay for tickets and sit in traffic for two hours with 80,000 of our new soccer-loving best friends, he signed us right on up. He even bought us shirts for the game.

Nothing like a little in-house rivalry.

The shirts actually made the (two-hour) drive to the stadium very fun because we watched for other idiots fans who overpaid for their tickets and shirts who were showing their team spirit and waved to them. We looked for license plates to see who was traveling the furthest and we laughed. A lot.

We all went to bathroom right before we left the house – which of course meant that Angel had to use the restroom when we were stuck in traffic looking for a parking spot, along with 80,000 other people. And, nope, she could. not. wait.

Hubby dropped us off near a porta potty and even remembered to give us two tickets. We’d meet him inside.

That all went well. We reconnected inside the stadium, collected the free giveaways, overpaid for pizza and french fries, made a down payment on a souvenir brochure and signed a commitment to bring back 8 bars of gold to own the entire book outright, and found our seats. We even had a few minutes to take some photos. Yeah.

Slowly other fans started to trickle in and soon it was crazy crowded. Then I overheard this conversation between the two men sitting in front of us.

Fan #1: No, we’re good.
Fan #2: You sure?
Fan #1: Yes, if they were coming, they’d t0tally be here by now.
Me: This is totally going to be a problem later.
Fan #2: At least we got seats together.
Fan #1: Yeah, we’re good.
Me: Good luck with that.

Then about five minutes into the game, 8 brawny, bearded blokes came walking down the aisle way donning Manchester United shirts and trying not to spill beer on their tickets. And already cheering very loudly.

Fans #1 and #2 shifted in their seats and leaned closer into each other. Now, I am not a scientist or an engineer but I was pretty sure that two fatter than average men who did not have tickets squishing up closer together was still not going to make room for 8 larger than average blokes and their beers.

Hmmmm.

So the 8 English men scrunched into the space of the 6 remaining available seats – right in front of us – and tried to do the math while drinking more beer and standing up. They quickly theorized that if they drank their beers quickly it would free up their fingers for adding. Guzzle. Guzzle.

Shouts of “down in front” rang out from all over the section.

I got to explain to my children why the middle finger is not an appropriate response to “down in front”. And that, really, some words are better left unsaid.

Now, before you start defending these lads – please know that I understand that in anywhere in E.U.R.O.P.E. they would totally stand up the whole time. They would be expected to stand up. Heck they would probably climb on each others shoulders and cheer from the rafters. But they were in America and we don’t stand up here. Something about “When in FEDeX Field, do as those in FEDeX Field do”. No one else was standing up in the entire section and they were making it impossible for about 200 people to see. Namely me and my family.

Finally, I got one of the ushers to help sort it all out. As entertaining as it was to watch these drunkards figure out how it was possible that they had purchased 8 seats together but still did not have 8 seats, I wanted to watch the game. (Look to your right dear fellows – there are two men sans tickets trying to disappear into your paid for seats.)

The usher came – also apparently not an engineer or scientist and certainly not a math major – and managed to get one of the unauthorized fans to leave. The other guy had a ticket. Well, that makes perfect sense.

Musical chairs had gotten less complicated but the blokes were still minus one seat and that made them very confused and not at all pleased.

They remained standing and, unfortunately, continued drinking. As hard as they tried, they could not divide 7 seats into 8 tickets or 8 men evenly.

So, in my best “my children cannot see the game” mother voice I could muster, I asked the “gentlemen” to please sit down. This was amid the screams from the people behind us for them to plant an arse in a seat.

The response?

They paid a lot for their tickets F-U very much and if they wanted to stand (right in front of God and thousands of other fans who paid for tickets) then that is exactly what they were going to do. One man answered that he still could not figure out why they did not have all of our seats.

I kindly explained that since our seats were right behind his, he could imagine that I paid pretty much the same as he did and would love to be able to actually see the game. As entertaining as he was, I could watch his antics for free on any fraternity row in any college town, but I was truly here to watch a soccer game.

Soccer?

Did you say soccer? This is futbal you sorry excuse for a fan.

Okay – then could you please sit down so that I can watch the FUTBAL game? Pretty please with beer on top?

They finally, thankfully figured out that they had dropped one of their tickets on the ground and the schmuck who stayed in their seat and lied to the usher about his right to be in a seat had picked up the ticket in all the fuss and was claiming it to be his. Then when he realized there were 8 drunk Englishmen v. him, he rethought his commitment to sacrificing his face for a good seat and left. And yes, he did move right behind us into another empty seat. Pretty sure he didn’t have a ticket for that one either.

Thank heavens. Now we can enjoy the game.

The men were singing and laughing and, for a brief bit, sitting. Albeit still drinking.

When something exciting happened in the game, the crowd naturally leapt to its collective feet and cheered or boo’d. As soon as the action was over, the crowd lowered into their seats and remained there. That is when one of the blokes decided he was going to get even. He turned to me and asked me to sit down. (Yes, you remember correctly that I was sitting behind him.) I wasn’t sure I heard him and said, “excuse me”. Could you please sit down, he repeated proudly. Clever this one.

I chose to largely ignore him and took advantage of the opportunity to explain to my son that this is what “drunk” looks like and that it is never pretty when testosterone meets beer. My husband told the chap to stop talking to me. And gave me a look that said “honey, I love you very much and if you could also kindly shut the hell up stop talking to the drunk in front of you, he might stop talking to you. Pretty please, with diamonds on top.”

But he persisted. To the point where he even changed seats with his friend to “sit” in front of me and encouraged his neighbor to also sit stand in front of me and Bear. I switched seats with hubby and then the guy moved again to be in front of me. He kept asking me to sit down and called me a popcorn fan. I am sure that was a tremendous insult but I love popcorn, so hmpf.

So now, he wasn’t watching the expensive game – but harassing me. Fabulous. And most of his friends were standing again. People were yelling for them to sit down – they were screaming obscenities back – and some idiot in the snack shack continued to sell them beer.

I went and got the usher again and told him to get help. The men were drunk and belligerent and were not sitting down. He probably didn’t want to take this mess on by himself.

And it is here that I have to ask that why it is always the mother in the crowd who is left to do the dirty work. Augh.

The usher came and brought in a guard from the stadium.

The crowd cheered. And not for the game.

The guard told them to sit down or they would be asked to leave.

The ones who had been sitting decided to stand as well.

The guard called in reinforcements.

The blokes stood.

Finally the police came and eventually escorted the men out of the stadium.

The police got a standing ovation.

The man sitting next to me told me that he had flown his grandchild in from California just to see this game. He missed 75% percent of it because of the drunk arses in front of us. We fist bumped when they got escorted out. And I gave my new bff a little tinkerbell wave just under my chin and smiled like a chesire cat that ate the canary, just so he would know how much I would miss him. Really. It was a sad glorious moment.

I got to explain lots of other things to my kids on the way home – drunk in public, arrest, jail, obnoxious. Things like why it was such shame they spent all of that money and wouldn’t remember most of what happened – and how we would probably never forget it.

All in all, it was money well spent. 😉

Let’s Stop the Snack Madness………..

I have been trying to figure out a way to be more helpful to others and I think I might have figured out a small little way to make a difference.

It will relieve stress on parents, address childhood obesity and pollution in America, and possibly feed some hungry children in the world. Sounds good, right?

If you have ever had a child in a rec sport, then you probably already know where I am going with this. But in case you don’t, let me ‘splain.

Take little Suzy Quzy. She’s 8 and she loves soccer. It’s Saturday and she has a 10am game.

Her mom gives her a good breakfast because she has a game. She’s going to need the energy. Suzy goes to the game and warms up. During warm ups, she drinks some of the water from one of the tw0 bottles of water that she brought with her. Then she plays about 15 minutes of soccer.

During half-time Suzy’s mom comes running across the field with oranges slices. She is slightly frantic because half time is such a short period of time to give out a snack. There is real pressure here to make sure everyone has a snack. Seriously, the children might actually starve because they have not had anything to eat in the last 45 minutes. Those aren’t airplanes people, they are grumblies in their tummies.

And not for nothin’, these kids better love these oranges. Afterall, Suzy’s mom went to two grocery stores to get oranges because they didn’t look great at the first one (where they had been on sale because it’s not really orange season and they are expensive, so a sale sounded good). And there was traffic. Jeez Louise the traffic. It took her an extra 20 minutes to get home. Now she is running late. She yelled at her kids to leave her alone because she had to get these oranges sliced for the game. She cut her finger because her husband tickled her when he walked by. The sheer nerve of that man. Now he is in trouble. Suzy cannot find her soccer cleats but mom cannot help because she is slicing oranges.

While the coach is talking, Suzy’s mom sees that most of the kids don’t have oranges. Suzy’s mom really wants everyone to know there are orange slices. So while the coach is talking, she is weaving in and out of the kids just to be sure everyone knows there are oranges. Oh, and diaper wipes. She wants to make sure no one plays soccer with sticky hands. That is critical to soccer play because – fyi – you don’t even use your hands in soccer but, sure, it is probably better if they are not sticky.

During half time about three kids have one orange slice each. But one of the players has a three-year-old brother who just loves oranges, especially when they are sliced and bought (out of season) by someone else. So, deflated, Suzy’s mom gives him the bag of oranges and he plays with eats them with very dirty hands. The husband is wondering why they just spent $20 on oranges but he is way too smart to say it out loud. He compliments his beautiful bride on having the best snack ever. Oh, yeah, those diaper wipes kicked it up a notch. How is it possible that no one had thought of that before?

The kids open their second water bottle because they cannot figure out which ones are their original bottles. There are 8 bottles on the ground, all only half empty. But, they can’t drink out of those because they might catch a real-life cootie. Don’t laugh, I have seen it happen and it ain’t pretty.

Finally, the kids finish up their soccer game. Another frantic parent comes over with a peanut-free, glutten-free, and dairy-free end-of-game snack and another drink. They must be famished by now.  Holy cow, it’s been an entire hour and a half since they have had a proper meal. Yeah, Suzy’s mom thought she was all hot stuff with those exotic, organic orange slices, but we see where those ended up – abandoned and alone in the dirt.

The kids forget both of their original water bottles and suck down a juice box. And honestly, they are glad to have another drink. At this point, water is so two hours ago. Now each child has 3 bottles of trash. Only one of which will actually be claimed. The rest of the bottles nearly filled with perfectly good water get left on the field. Along with some  orange slices formerly known as perfectly good. The kids all open their snacks but it’s not one they are crazy about (maybe because peanut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free snacks actually taste like cardboard) so they don’t eat it. The overachieving mom brings a trash bag to pick up all the leftover pieces – take that Suzy’s mom – diaper wipes indeed. But a lot of trash still gets left on the field.

Oh, wait, the coach has one more announcement. It’s Stephie’s birthday. Everyone sing and there are cupcakes. And boy, are they cute. Another fyi, the cuter the cupcake, the more likely it is to go uneaten. Kids love looking at them, but if it’s too complicated, eating them very quickly becomes not-so-much.

More trash is created by the cupcake wrapper and one-bite-taken-out-of-cupcakes.

Suzy’s family gets home exhausted. And Suzy’s mom announces, “It’s lunchtime!” They are having fruit salad with dirt dressing. However, Dad is not hungry. He has already had a really cute cupcake and a half of a bag of cardboard.

I therefore propose that if your child really cannot go an hour and a half without eating, plan ahead. Bring them a snack. One that is safe for them and that they like and that they will actually eat. And the parent responsible for snacks can take the $50 s/he would have spent on snacks and drinks and donate it to the World Hunger Organization or their local church or local food bank or whatever – you get the point.

Really hungry children would get the resources they are truly desperate for, husbands would once again be allowed to tickle their wives, moms could help their children find their soccer cleats without cut fingers, kids wouldn’t overeat as much, fields would have less trash, and the list goes on. I am not sure what to do about the little brother who really likes playing with expensive orange slices in the dirt, but hey, Rome was not built in a day.