You win some, you lose some, but if you are a poor sport you lose them all.

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?

Weekly Column: Back to School: Supplies and Demands

Back to School: School Supplies and Demand

Top Ten Rules for Surviving High School

Totally plagiarized from mass-email going around but still pretty relevant if one ignores the totally dated reference to "leaving the coffee shop." Apparently this was written in the early 2000's when "Friends" still ruled the airwaves. Now your friends would have to leave the reality TV venue/island and get a job. 

I think #4 is my personal favorite. 

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2: The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one