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.