Archive for the ‘parents’ Category

More soccer parent drama

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Sorry to have taken such a long break. It’s been a crazy month. But I’ve had a few interesting games recently, so I have lots to write about.

Last week, I was on vacation from my day job and my night job, so I was able to ref a game or two a little farther from home. I agreed to do two high school games in a small town a bit far from home. The first game was a girls’ game, which was pretty uneventful. I was the AR on the parents’ side, and the other two refs were pretty good.

When it came time for the boys’ game, we thought for sure the home team was going to pound this rural high school from even farther away. We were so wrong.

The game started out rough. Thirty seconds into the game, the center ref had to warn a player on the home team for playing too aggressively. The whole game was rough, and I was surprised there weren’t more fouls called.

The visiting parents were near me, and they were pretty cool. There were only three of them, and they cheered their hearts out. They were laughing and having a good time joking with me occasionally. The home parents were another story.

Ten minutes before the end of the game, I made a fatal mistake. I called a foul in the penalty box. I thought it was blatant, and the center later told me he agreed with me. But the truth is, he should have called it and not me. But I was closer, so I figured it had to be called.

The center ran over and discussed it with me and agreed it was a blatant foul in the box, so there must be a penalty kick. The keeper tried to argue with me — “Ma’am, he slipped!” I didn’t want him to start arguing, so I said “Knock it off.” Someone said, “What was the call?” and someone else said, “Nothing … bitch.”

I didn’t hear it, but the center did, and he turned ar0und and gave him a red card. The kid was arguing with him, and he almost couldn’t get him off the field. They walked over to the coach and explained it to him, then he came back and explained it to me. “I know he was directing that to you,” he said. “Of course,” I said, “I’m the only one with a vagina.”

Well, the parents didn’t know what happened, so they thought the red card was for the foul. From one side of the stands (the home side) I heard, “You can’t give a red card without a yellow first!” And from the other side, “That’s not true, you idiot!”

After the game (away team won 4-2, including a goal from the penalty kick), as an away player was cheering for his team, a home parent walked to the side of the field and said, “Congratulations! You had the refs on your side!” The player said, “No we didn’t! We won fair and square!”

I said I really wanted to get out of there but I couldn’t because I couldn’t find my teenage son, who was hanging out during the game. I had to walk in front of the parents to get his stuff and I overheard one of the parents saying, “Yeah, SHE called the foul that got the red card.” Oh shit.

I found the guy who was running the clock, who walked around with me, and he asked about the call, I made sure to say somewhat loudly, “It wasn’t the foul that got the card, it was his mouth.”

God, I really hate teenage boys and soccer parents.

‘I’m a soccer parent!’

I had two games this weekend at a recreational soccer tournament. I was pretty excited because I got assessed for the first time, and that was cool. Overall, the assessment was good, but there are some things I could work on.

The first game was a semi-final U10, and mostly the game went well. But there was one controversial goal. The ball bounced off the crossbar of the goal, right into the goal about a foot, then bounced out. Since it crossed the line — I saw it clearly — we called it. The coach went nuts. I don’t know why he and his team seemed to think it wasn’t a goal, but they never shut up about it. Even as they were leaving the field, they were still screaming “it wasn’t a goal!” Whatever.

The second game was the U10 championship game, with the winning team of the last game playing. Both teams were from rural areas of my state, which means there were some redneck and outright white trash parents.

The team whose side I was on had a whole row of enormous moms sitting in camp chairs smoking and screaming at their kids. I don’t normally criticize fat people, but it was funny to that they encouraged their kids to play sports while you know they never lifted a finger to exercise themselves. But I digress.

I heard one redneck dude complaining that the winning team was “obviously a select team and not a rec team.” Well, obviously, since they were beating the tar out of his kid’s team. I wanted to tell him that I’ve seen a lot of select teams play, and they’re much better than these kids.

But the best thing I overheard was this: One parent (of the fat camp-chair group) asked another if her daughter was playing softball this summer. “Nooooo! I’m not a softball parent!” She clarified: “I’m not a basketball parent, I’m not a football parent, I’m a soccer parent!”

Wow, mom. Way to make it all about you. I wonder what her kid thinks about this. Does she have a choice in what sport she plays? Apparently, not, because that would mess with mom’s precious image.

Parental Discretion Advised

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Obama is a soccer dad! I think he’s probably more calm than most.

In my two months of refereeing kids’ soccer games, the most shocking bit I’ve come across has been behavior of parents.

I’ve already told you a bit about coaches, and I will tell you more later. But I’ve come to realize one important thing — soccer parents are completely insane.

I don’t know if they have visions of scholarships and MLS teams in the future or maybe it’s the heat getting to their brains, but sitting or standing on the sidelines of the soccer pitch seems to make them lose all sense of reality.

Some things I’ve overheard at soccer matches:

  • One of my first games, a U10 girls game, a child had the ball near the top of the goal box and was surrounded by the defending team. Dad behind me was screaming “Turn and shoot!” When the girl lost possession of the ball (because about eight defenders were taking it away) he said to someone nearby, “GAWD! Why didn’t she just turn and shoot?!” (Um, perhaps because she’s NINE! You’re lucky she can kick the ball in the direction she wants!) Also, the turn-and-shoot move is extremely difficult to do! I still have trouble with it.
  • Same game. I called an offside and I was wrong (I was still learning). The center ref was talking to me about why she wasn’t offside, when a parent screamed, “Learn the rules!” (I’m trying, jackass, that’s why I’m reffing a U10 game, not the World Cup! Also, they’re not rules, they’re laws.)
  • In one tournament, the fields we played on dropped off sharply behind one goal. So, usually, teams will put an extra ball behind the goal so that time is not wasted chasing the ball after each shot at the goal. This aggravated one dad to no end. He asked me if they could put a ball behind the goal. I said I’d have to check with the center ref. (It’s his field and the ball has to be checked first.) The ref never came over to my side and I never got a chance to ask him. At halftime, we were busy talking about other things. After halftime, the guy asked if I had asked him about the ball. “No, I didn’t get a chance.” By the middle of the second half, this guy was livid — about the ball running down a freaking hill! “Fine! I’ll go put the ball there!” (If you do, you’ll get into trouble for your team.) He didn’t, but I think the coach finally put one there, which is his job, not the parents’ or the referees’. The parent: “FINALLY!” (Really? That’s all you can find to complain about?)
  • “Yellow card!” This is shouted out regularly when a player for the opposing team commits a foul. In soccer, you don’t call every foul. First, because you allow the fouled team to continue if they keep possession of the ball — called advantage; and second, because you want to let them play. If you called every foul, the game would be stopped constantly, which is no fun for the players. But parents want every foul called. Also, around here, parents are used to watching basketball, where refs do call every foul.
  • “That was out!” This one also happens a lot because parents watch a lot of basketball. In basketball, the ball is out if your foot or the ball is even a little bit over the line. In soccer, the entire ball has to be over the line.
  • “He’s (she’s) offsides!” To me, this is the funniest for many reasons. Except for blatant offenses, you can’t tell if a person is offside (not offsides) unless you are right in line with the second-to-last defender. Parents, standing at the other end of the field, will scream that someone is “offsides” when they have no idea where the stinkin’ player is. Secondly, most parents have no idea what offside even is. It’s a very complicated process and call, and I’m not going to explain it right now.
  • “He’s an idiot!,” said to me about a center referee after the parent had been kicked out of the game. That’s a story for another time, but he was talking about a referee that has amazing credentials and is very far from being an idiot. I would even say he’s brilliant and his skills are something I aspire to have.
  • “Guys, you’re going to have to control this game because the referee certainly isnt!” This was utter nonsense said in a tournament. It was a U15 game in which the kids were practically beating the crap out of each other. The ref was doing everything he could to let the guys play, then he eventually had to throw out a player.

Parents get way too involved with their kids’ games. Sometimes, if I’m in a good mood, I’ll talk to the parents when I’m on the sidelines during lulls in the game. Some of them are really nice and have a good sense of humor about it all. But mostly, they’re awful. For a while, I never wanted to be on the parents’ side of the field. But then, I got to know some obnoxious coaches and was the butt of their tirades. Now I don’t care which side I’m on. Usually, I’ll choose the opposite of whatever side last abused me.