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Why do you act lke this at games?

Posted: February 12, 2008 12:30 p.m.
Updated: April 14, 2008 2:01 a.m.
 
Soccer parents of the Santa Clarita Valley, it's time you and I had a little chat.

Sometimes your behavior at your kids' games is ... Ridiculous? Disturbing? Over the top? Most of it falls somewhere in there.

Before we go any further, I'll give you full disclosure here: I played for a Gold-level club team, and I was a three-year varsity player in high school. Two of those years I was the starting sweeper.

Not that I think you should care. I'm only telling you that so you don't think I haven't been there. I've stood in the exact same place your kids are standing now. The fields just weren't as nice back then.

Covering soccer this year, I've heard a lot of things screamed out from the stands.

One of my least favorite happened a couple of weeks ago. After the other team scored, a mom yelled out to her daughter, "You can't defend her?" among some other things.

The player yelled back from the field, "What do you want me to do mom?"

I'm not sure who started the rumor that this will make your kids play better. Trust me, it doesn't.

You know what kids think after an exchange like that?

"My mom (or dad) is really ticking me off right now."

As a coach or a teammate, I'd much rather that player be thinking, "OK, what can I do better this time?"
Look, your sons and daughters are playing at the varsity level, so they are probably pretty good. They know when they've messed up. And if they don't, let the coach do their job and they can let that player know what needs to be fixed.

Now, most of the hollering doesn't occur from parent to kid. Most of it is parents towards the referees.
You certainly have the right to disagree with a call. But you shouldn't feel you have the right to be rude about it.

I know some of you will say sometimes you feel your kid's safety is danger when they get fouled and the referee doesn't make a call.

I'll never knock that. I'm just saying there's a good way and a bad way to voice your opinion. Think it through before you blurt something out.

I'm not saying the referees have been extraordinary this season. They've made some bad calls. But try to keep in mind, they aren't out to get your son's or daughter's team. Seriously, they really aren't. Give them a little more credit than that. They aren't standing on the field thinking, "Hmmm, how can I ruin this game for one team and not the other?" Their lives really do exist beyond high school soccer games, and you should remember that yours do too.

Most likely, they are men and women who enjoy the sport and are trying to earn a little extra money for themselves or their families. They aren't World Cup referees.

Plus, it comes back to your kids. When you get bent out of shape because of the referees, you can get your kids worked up. If they start feeling every call is against them, it can seriously affect their play on the field.

If it's a bad call, say you disagree and move on. Anything else can get in a player's head.

Sometimes, one bad call changes a game. We've all seen it, but it's not an every game occurrence. If your team can't overcome bad calls, you aren't a good team. If you start blaming everything that happens on bad reffing, you are just making sad excuses, and you look ridiculous.

Oh, and another thing.

When opposing players yell things to their team on the field, as parents, please don't yell things back to them. For lack of a better word, that's just lame.

The battle on the field is between your kids and another team. Let them battle it out. It's not your battle. I repeat, it's not your battle.

A couple of weeks ago, I met a club coach who was witnessing his first Hart-Canyon girls soccer game. He said of the atmosphere, "This is what high school soccer should be like everywhere."

He's right. It should be about good soccer and spirited competition.

It shouldn't be about parents who can't get perspective and can't keep rude comments to themselves.

Amanda Branam is a Signal staff writer. She can be reached at abranam@the-signal.com. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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