|You can't shut up the sideline parent|
|Written by Rob Peecher|
|Thursday, 10 February 2011|
My favorite moment from the four-game soccer tournament in Savannah this past weekend was when one of the kids on my son’s team got a yellow card for yelling “Shut up!” during one of the games.
But the referee withdrew the yellow card (something rarely seen in soccer) when he found out who the kid was yelling at. It turns out, the kid was yelling at his own dad.
I know for a fact that the referees would frequently like to yell “Shut up!” at the parents, too. I have found that parents at their children’s sporting events are often more animated than the fans of professional or college teams.
We’ve all become experts in the game from watching our kids
over the years. From the sidelines, we are certain we have a better vantage
point than the refs. For instance, when one of the boys on
I may not have gone through the same training as the referees, but I’ve watched a lot of games and I know a clean slide tackle from a dirty elbow.
With our children as the athletes on the field, we’re emotionally invested. Our love for our children drives us to want to see them do well. Better than anyone, we know what hard work they’ve put into the practices; we know how important the game is to them; we know how frustrated they get when they lose.
And they’re our kids.
If you do not have children, you cannot understand what motivates the sideline parent to scream and cheer and yell encouragements. And our children, who would prefer that we leave them alone and let them play (and, truth be told, would probably prefer we stay at home if it weren’t for the fact they need a ride to the field) can not understand what motivates us.
“You’ll understand one day when you have kids,” I tell
But as parents, we’ve also paid small fortunes for our children to play.
Before one of the games, I was teasing Harrison and a couple of the guys on his team. “I’m not paying all this money to see you guys tie. You need to win today,” I told them.
I was joking, but you’d like to see some reward for your
financial investment in the way of a winning season. And when you spend a large
fortune on a tournament that includes a two-night stay in a hotel in downtown
Anyone who donates to UGA for season tickets can understand what I’m talking about. We pony up the money, we expect to see some victories.
So we shout encouragement from the sidelines.
A couple of years ago one of
I wasn’t present at that meeting and so I continued to shout
As parents, we are accustomed to telling our children what to do. Children are often brainless, especially teenaged children, and it is right and necessary that their parents shout instructions to them at all times – whether they are playing soccer or studying math or horsing around with their friends. If teenagers do not have their parents constantly shouting instructions at them, they are bound to make some extraordinary mistake that will end disastrously.
So we shout instructions from the sidelines.
I also play soccer in an adult league, and I play soccer poorly. As a poor soccer player, I am accustomed to having my teammates shout instructions from the sidelines. I can tell you for a fact, every player on the field – whether it’s U15 soccer or Atlanta Braves baseball or the Super Bowl on Sunday – when they hear people on the sidelines shouting instructions what the athletes really want to do is wheel around and yell, “Shut up!”
When you’re on the field playing and there are a dozen distractions, you don’t want to hear from your parents or your teammates or anyone else on the sidelines.
It wasn’t Harrison who got the yellow card for shouting at his father this weekend, but it could have been.
I swear I try.
I know it frustrates him. I know it makes him angry. I know he doesn’t want me shouting from the sidelines. And so I bite my tongue. I walk away from the game. I press my lips so tight together that it is giving me wrinkles in the corners of my mouth.
I try so hard.
But I can’t help myself. “Push up!” I inevitably yell. “Pinch in!” I inevitably yell. “Get goal side of him!”
I coached all three of my sons in soccer at some point over the years. I take credit for their successes and am quick to note that “I taught them better than that” when they make mistakes.
And as their former coach, it is impossible for me to shut that off.
During one of Nathan’s recent games, I was offering advice (or shouting, whatever) and Nate turned and looked directly at me, and like a traffic cop calling a driver to a stop he put his hand up and glared directly at me.
Some of the other parents laughed at that in the same way
that the parents this weekend laughed when the kid on
Sideline parents are the most emotionally and financially invested former coach fans anywhere, and nothing will shut us up, so our teenagers should just deal with it and ignore us like they do with everything else.
Rob Peecher is editor of The Oconee Leader, but on Saturdays he shouts himself hoarse at his sons’ soccer games.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 February 2011 )|
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