Tag Archives: parents

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.

As it should be……………

Another sports post – oh say it isn’t so – it is. But this is a good one.

My daughter had another basketball game. The opposing team has one of her dearest friends on it.

Her mom cheered for my daughter – I cheered for her daughter. The girls giggled throughout the entire game. The parents behaved. The coaches mostly behaved – one did get a technical foul – but I (not sitting too close this time) didn’t think that was warranted, unless maybe he said something really ugly under his breath that I could not hear from my comfy cozy seat on the other side of the gym.

The girls played hard. Grandparents clapped and smiled. The refs took every opportunity to explain the calls to the girls.

And butterflies flew around the gym under rainbows while unicorns danced. Okay, not really. But close.

After the game, we ran into a player from the other team at 7-11. She had done a great job guarding my little angel. I told her she gave Angel a run for her money. They both snickered while they were getting their slurpees.

Then the other girl turned on her heels and said, “hey, good game.”

Angel said, “yeah, you too.”

And all was right with the sports world for 9-year-old girls.

Teachable Moments………

Pretty soon, I am going to have to change the name of this blog to Sports Are (Not) Us.

I have a friend who calls any mistake a teachable moment. And it’s good to remember that parents can have teachable moments too. My family got to experience several yesterday.

My daughter plays basketball. She just started this year and she really, really likes it. And she has great coaches.

She had a game yesterday. She is 9, as are all of her teammates. It’s rec league – not travel. So there are rules about how many quarters everyone can play so that everyone gets fairly equitable playing time. Of course, depending on how many players are there, it’s not all even steven but it can be closer than not.

The coach from the other team played one player – a super duper great player – all four quarters. There were 7 players on his team so no one should have played more than 3 quarters in the land of following the rules. But his choice left at least one other child to play less than her fair share. Conveniently enough it was not one of their strongest players.

Our coaches pointed it out at the beginning of the third quarter when it actually would have been effective to address it.

The other coach ignored it. “Oh, we’ll talk about it later,” he said. Seriously, you have been told the rule and you opt out?

The teenage referees were not counting quarters of play and it quickly became too late to do anything about it. Without boring you to tears with the details – the other coach waited until the last quarter to give one girl her 2nd quarter of play. This meant she could not be substituted in for the player who was playing her fourth. It seemed suspect.

Then, when he tried to substitute another girl in mid-way through the fourth quarter who already had three quarters of play in and who was also conveniently also a very good player (by taking out a girl who had not yet had her three quarters), our coaches said “Wait a minute. You just cannot do that.”

The other coach said basically, “Why not?”

Well, let’s see, besides the little thing called the rule book, no reason.

So someone we were sitting with looked up the rules on his smart phone and took the rules onto the court. I have to say initially I was very happy he did it. I simply cannot stand it when coaches pull this kind of crap. I really can’t – it teaches so many bad lessons and it is so unnecessary. But the reality of it is that parents aren’t allowed on court. The parent did not stay to argue the case but you know – two wrongs rarely make a right. And two bad examples don’t end up being a good example.

I have to say that no one was yelling, the teenage refs kept their composure, and it was all fairly civilized. But every last second of it was completely unnecessary.

It is still very hard for me to understand why this coach did this. I know winning is a lot of fun. But if you win by cheating then are you really winning? And if you know you are cheating, well…..

We took advantage of the teachable moment it gave us to talk to our kids about a lot of things – the character of the coach, our inappropriate involvement in the discussion (I was pretty fired up myself), and how unfortunate it was for the girls who were being shortchanged and even for the girls who were being relied on too heavily.

The worst part of all of it is that this team is undefeated which means they have a really good team made up of strong players. They are probably even coached pretty well. They played well together and had a lot of strengths. They would have had a great game within the parameters of the rules.

So as parents we (read I) have to remember to let the coaches coach and the refs ref and to not have an opinion.

And, most importantly, we need to let (all) the players play the game and just watch.

I also need to rethink how close I sit to the coaches. I heard way too much of what was going on.

As coaches, please remember you are setting an example of how to behave on and off the court. It’s is more important for us all to raise children of character than WNBA superstars. Of course I understand that the dynamics of the play structure are most likely lost on the girls. They probably did not understand what was happening. (Although I bet one little girl understood very well that she was not playing nearly as much as someone else.) I can barely figure out the playing time matrix, but the coaches should understand it. And if they don’t, well then, the league should educate them better. Although I unfortunately do not believe this was a breakdown in the education system.

The bottom line for me is that I fell off my high horse yesterday smack in the mud and I am a little sore today………….

Remembering………….

America was rocked to its core on September 11th.

I posted a question on Facebook today asking people what they were doing when they heard the news. You could hear the heaviness in the answers. A lot of my friends were pregnant and/or parents of young children. Myself included. You feel the weight of parenthood more than you could ever imagine when you think of protecting a child in a world where hate is more than just mean-spirited and ugly – a world where hate is deadly.

America rejoined the ranks of so many countries who have lost their citizens too soon. Every country has a story – every citizen remembers when hate took over where patience and acceptance should reside.

Today there was a September 11th Commemoration Service at the American Embassy. I went. I am so glad I did. You probably know by now that I am big on counting blessings. Consider them all counted today. Every single one.

Timothy Roemer, the American Ambassador, hosted the event and spoke about his time on the Congressional 9/11 Committee investigating what happened. Today, he focused on the flight that went down in Pennsylvania – about the heroes who refused to simply be victims. Did you know that the people on that flight took a vote before taking on the terrorists? Democracy in action.  Amazing. Even in the face of such hatred, they took the time to make everyone’s opinion count.

He talked about the parents who called the plane and had barely a minute to share the news with their loved ones. To hear their voices – probably very shaken. To tell them what was happening and to say goodbye. I cannot imagine.

Mr. Roemer emphasized the importance of not forgetting. Of remembering forever. He also emphasized equally the importance of finding the strength to be resilient. When we are too scared to care about one another, whether it be across driveways or across oceans, terrorism wins.

He talked about the families who put their anger aside to make a difference in the fight against terrorism. Who gave willingly of their time and energy and talents to make America a safer place. The families worked with Congressional leaders to change the way America works and protects itself.

To have such grace – I am not sure I could. And I hope and pray that no one ever has to dig that deep to forgive and move on again.

Cool Rider……..

Grease was a great movie – but Grease 2 now that is a classic. Michelle Pfieffer probably does not brag about playing Stephanie Zinone but she was great and I love, love, loved the song “Cool Rider”. We even played it at our last birthday party. Cooooool Rider, cool, cool, cool, rider…………………..

swimming-204
Number One Hubby used to own a motorcycle. It was pretty cool – as far as motorcycles go. And I know he would admit that I did not give him a hard time about owning, or for that matter, riding it. He actually spent more time working on it than riding it. He’s a smart guy – he took the whole thing apart – sent parts out to be chromed, painted, and jazzed up in one way or another. Then, by his lonesome, put the whole thing back together. Amazing. Very impressive.

Oh yeah – there was the one little issue with the brakes – but he got that fixed. Apparently, he didn’t quite put those together exactly right. Details.

I even rode on it ONCE (before he took it apart). However, I am not a big fan of my kids parents both being on a motorcycle at the same time. Call me boring – but it’s just not worth it. So you can imagine how I feel about moving to India right at this moment.

Still no decisions…