Every once in awhile I see a soccer parent that makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a corner post…last night was one of those nights.
I referee soccer and last night I was refereeing a high school boys game when I saw and heard something that, unfortunately, is all too common in soccer.
Yelling at the referee.
Look, I get it. Your kid’s a star. He never does anything wrong, NEVER commits a foul and DEFINITELY didn’t do anything wrong on THAT play.
Or, on the other side, I know, you’re poor child was brutally and intentionally attacked by the other player during that play.
I get it.
As parents, our kids are absolutely perfect, right?
That might be, I doubt it, but it just might be.
Even so, yelling at the referee does absolutely NOTHING to affect the outcome of the game or the current decision they are making.
It DOES, however, provide a very poor example of sportsmanship to your child — and, all too often, it also is embarrassing to them.
Yes, when you yell and scream at the referee, it can be extremely embarrassing to your child.
Please don’t be that parent that I saw and heard last night.
Here are six things you have to understand and remember when you feel the referee made a bad decision — whether your child is 5, 12, or 18.
1. This call will probably not affect the outcome of the game — it could, but it probably won’t.
1a. Even if it does affect the outcome, every adult I’ve ever talked to rarely remembers individual games or scores from games when they were a child anyway.
1b. Even if it IS an important game (like a championship), it is still just that — a game.
2. Sometimes things are unfair. This is a life lesson — sometimes things seem unfair…the key is learning how to deal with adversity with character.
3. The referee is human. He’s (or she) is doing his best to call the game as he sees it. No, he doesn’t have it out for your child, no he’s not trying to help the other team win… referees ref because they love the game, cut them some slack.
4. Remember, as a parent, your actions speak louder than words. The way you act during your child’s game will teach them that it’s ok to scream, yell and throw a fit when they don’t get their way — so if you act that way, don’t get mad when they do the same thing next week when they don’t want to do something you asked them to!
I know what you’re going to say — yes, there are exceptions…perhaps it’s a safety concern. In those cases, trust your child’s coach to stick up for the safety of his or her players — including your child.
Your job is to be supportive and encouraging…not scream and yell like you’re at an underground fight club!
Again, please don’t be that parent.
It’s just a game and your child deserves a better role model.