Saturday we had the pleasure to travel to a nearby league for a recreational soccer game. We lost. I thought I’d get that out of the way right up front. Fortunately, we didn’t have any money on the game and there were no cash or automotive prizes at stake so nobody was too broke up about it. This isn’t some sour grapes post whereby I extract revenge on my arch nemesis – a bunch of 11 year olds.
What did bother me, and what prompted this random musing is that it is getting tougher to advocate for youth sports when I run into kids who are such poor sports themselves.
The game that was going very well except for, you know, the whole losing thing. Saturday was an absolutely GORGEOUS day, the kind of sublimely perfect bridging the gap from summer to fall day that people write poetry about. The fields were well-maintained, my lawn chair was comfy, and they had a good concession stand. Weather. Seating. Snacks. My trifecta of sport spectating perfection had been reached.
Then we got down to the game. They were winning – yay them! I stuck to my usual stance of cheering for BOTH sides, throwing in a “great job keeper!” if THEIR goalie made a memorable play. They are CHILDREN after all. I don’t get too overwrought about it.
Then one of their players shoved my daughter. Hard. Two hands in the back in the classic ‘no double about it oh yes she did” move that instantly had the referee on her whistle. Good call. It happens. I honestly don’t get all worked up about THAT anymore either, which just goes to show how thick my skin has grown. That is until three of the other players openly mocked the referee, patting each other on the back saying "good SHOVE. Nice SHOVE!" dripping sarcasm (where do 11 year olds get sarcasm anyway?) all the while.
Where is the call against unsportsmanship behavior?
Later, when we scored our one and only goal one of the players turned to my DD - the scorer - and said snidely "you know you're still a LOSER right?"
I am not a "my child can do no wrong" parent but please note that the NEXT day my DD played Howland and the ref there (an adult and clearly a pro) complimented BOTH teams on being the politest and among best sports she had ever had the pleasure to referee.
I would like to think that’s because if MY child ever openly mocked a referee during a call, she would be benched so fast, heck she’d be in the CAR on the way home, before she ever knew what hit her.
Apparently, some parents are just all about the score.
And to the ponytailed blond that labeled my daughter, and her team, “losers” based on the score of one game, let me tell you sweetie that behavior lasts long after you leave the field and if there were any true “losers” there that day, they didn’t appear to be on our team.
Here a player offers a hand to the opposing team’s goalie.
Question of the Day: Do we blame pro sports and their trash talkin’, ego-stroking bravado or parents who apparently are unaware or unconcerned with how their children behave on the field?