“Sporty” Parents

Well, after a week of recruiting, I am going to relax for a few hours before I have another rather busy week of 3 games with the guys and tacking some more recruiting trips in there.

I had the opportunity to watch games in Steubenville, Medina, and several ‘burbs in Toledo. The same thing rings true in ALL the locations: high school parents are ridiculous at sporting events.

I ended up going to 4 games today, so that takes my total for the week to 8. It is amazing to listen to the parents. It also makes me think about my parents and how grateful I am to have parents that don’t act like the majority of other “sporty” parents. In all my years of athletics, from the age of 5 all the way through college and even now as a coach, my parents have supported me. It’s been great, win or loss, to get to see my parents after competitions. As far as I know, my mom or dad never said one word, in any manner, that would be heard by anyone not sitting to their left or right. No questioning calls. No comments toward coaches. Not one time did I have to worry about my mom and dad “embarrassing” me — I don’t get embarrassed anyway. It was great, I got the support and they got to be the picturesque spectators/fans. After this week, it makes me want to continue trying to be the spectator/fan that my mom and dad have exemplified. It always amazed me of their support especially when I participate(d) in a sport that they were once unfamiliar with. Now, after all these years around the “beautiful game,” they continue to exemplify quality spectators/fans.

During the 8 games, I heard a variety of these:

  • “Move!”
  • “Hustle!”
  • “Boot it!”
  • “Send it!”
  • “Kick it!”
  • “High kick!”
  • “All you have to do is just touch it!”
  • “You have to want it!”
  • “Aw, c’mon ref…[insert idiotic statement here]!”
Then, after using all of these, the parents then continued to complain to referees even though the parents had no idea what the Laws of the Game are. I went to a high school game in Indiana in late August, the school program had a “Code for Parents” for their soccer parents printed on two locations of the program. It was awesome! Did they all follow it, probably not, but it was still awesome to see that. This year, Coach and I gave our players a Laws of the Game exam that was partially from a USSF Grade 8 refereeing course and then partially fabricated by myself — this was one of the most beneficial things for a team, in my opinion.
If people want to be fans of a sport, please do this simple thing: know about the sport if you are going to yell or complain about things. That was part of the reason for the exam for our team. I think parents should be required to do this so they don’t sound so stupid at these games.
I understand, I am not a parent yet…and every high school parent thinks their kid is an all-star. But that doesn’t mean that mom or dad has to yell out every time something happens. There doesn’t need to be any coaching from the stands. There doesn’t need to be any refereeing from the stands — especially when the stands-refereeing is just as bad, if not worse, than the refereeing on the field. When I have kids, I vow to never be like these parents I have seen and heard. If I am, someone please smack me across the face and remind me how dumb I am acting.
I even heard a parent call a referee a “hamburger.” What does that mean? Is that a bad thing? A good thing? How does a referee resemble a hamburger?
This isn’t limited to soccer parents either. Football parents are bad. Basketball parents are bad. Track parents are bad. You name it, they are in there. They all do obnoxious things to “support” their children.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t cheer for the student-athletes. I am not saying they shouldn’t complain to the referees. Just be smart about it. Sound intelligent. Sound like you know what you are talking about.
I have pretty much vowed to remove myself from the vicinity of most parents because I do not want anything to rub off on me or think I am associated with it. End of this rant. Maybe I should give several of these parents a little leniency because there were 6 of the 8 games using a 2-man system…NEVER!
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One comment

  1. Tim

    don’t worry, you have plenty of people that will smack you if you are being dumb. You could probably sell tickets for it. Parents need to remember that they are always role models and if you are whining and crying about the refs, etc what do you think your kids are going to do? In the past I have actually had players embarressed by how their parent’s have acted during games, which is better than the players embracing it (though it is still unfortunate that it happens at all).

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