Monday, September 20, 2010

Youth Soccer – “Show No Mercy!”

My daughter plays youth soccer on a T3 Under 12 team. I am glad she is part of a team and I enjoy watching her play. I am the quiet parent sitting on the sidelines. I usually sit alone near the center of the field. I watch the game and listen to the commotion on the sidelines. There are parents who cheer, complain, criticize, yell, grumble, applaud and moan.

Game 1:

I found an open spot on the sidelines to set my chair. Within minutes, parents of the opposing team filled in the space next to me. Sitting next to me was an exuberant, chatty father. Through the course of the game, I learned a lot about him. He told me where he was from, why he moved, how he loved living in a rural area and about his chickens. He told me about the opposing teams practice schedule, their drills and the coach. The coach was a local celebrity and soccer professional. The coach retired from competitive soccer and is teaching a girls team for fun.

The chatty father pointed out his daughter and wanted to know which one was mine. He gestured to the end of the field and said, "The Amazon playing defense is my daughter". Yep, he actually said Amazon. The chatty father apologized to me in advance because his daughter was probably going to knock some of our team down. Their coach was teaching some of the more talented players to knock opposing team members over without being called for it. The chatty dad got it half-right. His daughter stomped over my daughter and knocked her down. The referee called a penalty.

Game 2:

Once again, I found and open spot on the sidelines to set my chair. This week I was surrounded by parents and grandparents of our team. The moment the whistle blew the commentary began. The grandfather did not stop talking the entire one-hour game. “They need to run to the ball. Look at the other team, they are running to the ball. They need to kick the ball forward not backward. Look at the other teams goalie, she should have brought a lawn chair. They need to run. The coaches need to be harder on the girls. Kick the ball forward.” Repeat over and over again.

Our team was losing at least 8-0 with only a few minutes left in the game. The other team was excited and seemed to become increasingly aggressive. At one point, an 11-year-old girl on the opposing team shouted, “Show No Mercy!”. A moment later, our goalie was hit in the face with the ball and an opposing player knocked her down. The goalie had to leave the game with an ice pack.

What do you think of the “Show No Mercy!” comment? Do you have any youth soccer stories to share?


Sis said...

You could not pay me to sit at a soccer game. Never in a million years.

These old farts need to get off their a** and do something on their own instead of living through their children/grandchildren.

Narda said...

The best comment I can make on the subject:

Felicia said...

Wow. My son played soccer so long ago (about 11 years back) and I really don't remember the sideline convo, but my hubby-to-be coaches track and used to also coach football. We go to lots of sporting events and are usually amazed by the commentary! Some folks literally stomp around and demand that the team hit harder (football) or use their elbows more (on track relays) but are also the first ones complaining when their little Johnny or Suzie get whacked.

Show no mercy?!? Seriously?!? What do pre-teens in a game/sport that is supposed to be about fun and sportsmanship need with the Navy S.E.A.L slogan?

Rick Matz said...

The biggest problem with youth sports is the parents.

Anonymous said...

I'll second Rick's comment by also adding those parents who are unknowledgeable of their child(ren)'s sport.

Show no mercy? I support that people need outlets for extreme energy/aggression but for an pre-juvenile team? Someone bring in the pros please.

Michele said...

Thank you for your comments!

Sis: It gets ugly on the sidelines.

Narda: Shocking video!

Felicia: The sideline commentary is out of hand. If only I could find a nice quiet place to sit...

Rick: Agreed!

TAA: Good point! Many parents complain about the game and do not know the rules.