‘Tis the season, motherfuckers! After a long and arduous couple of months, U8 soccer coaches across the land are banging their heads on the turf.
To the parents, coaches and grandparents, I say, “Gear the fuck up, let the games begin and may the odds be ever in your favor.”
When I decided to coach my daughter’s soccer team several years ago, it was with high hopes of whipping these young girls into soccer machines; ball-winning, ass-kicking, goal-scoring soccer machines. I quickly discovered that we were up against a slew of girls who’d been playing soccer since they were 9 months old and their posse of psycho parents.
I understand what it is to be competitive. I had my glory days as an athlete. Unfortunately, now I’m more like the beer-bellied 50-year-old man who still see himself as the golden boy all-state quarterback from 36 years ago. Pathetic, I know.
In my short history as a soccer coach I’ve seen competitive taken to a new level. Crazy shit is happening out there. Parents with terrible behavior, terrible sportsmanship and an honest to god lack of perspective, line up like a death squad with camping chairs and umbrellas. These are 6 and 7 year olds, for fuck’s sake. Lighten the fuck up.
To help everyone calm the fuck down, I’d like to offer some tips to the spectators who tend towards the more psychotic end of the spectrum…
Obviously, I have a terrible and filthy mouth, and so do a shit-ton of other adults. I see nothing wrong with cussing in front of your own kids, but when on the sidelines, please, pretty please, mutter your swear words quietly. Do it under your breath. Do it into your hands, slapped tightly over your bomb-dropping mouth. When kids hear you cussing on the sidelines, they think you’re cussing at them, that you’re mad at them, that they’ve done something wrong. They’re sensitive little souls, so take care not to hurt them.
Don’t Be a Dick
A few weeks ago we were up against a pretty good team. There were 2 minutes left in the game and we were winning 1-0. The girls were working hard, faces red and legs churning. The referee made a terrible call and the other team scored on us to tie the game. In typical coach fashion, I yelled, “C’MON REF! That wasn’t fair!”
I heard a thunderous roar from the opposing side, parents turned into crazy people, eyes bulging and steam coming out of their ears… They screamed, they shouted, they lost their fucking minds.
I was called an idiot, I was told to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up, I heard someone yell “BULLSHIT”.
What in the sweet lord was happening? Had I been transported to a monster truck rally? A Nascar race? The white trash was out in full force, and for a split second, I was afraid I’d be mobbed, shot or slayed with a machete – these people were out of their gourds and I feared for my life.
Parents Coaching From The Sidelines
I can appreciate that parents want their kids to score goals, play good defense and chase down their opponent, but Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, shut your yappers. When I was a spectator, I was guilty of trying to coach my kid from the sideline, not realizing it was confusing for her and annoying for the coach. Dammit, I just wanted to help her!
As the coach, I’ve seen girls in tears because they hear their name called out by 20 people, and they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing or who they should listen to.
Let the kid do her thing, let the coach be the coach. I’ve seen parents who insist on yelling out instructions to the players; instructions that are contrary to what I’ve been teaching and to the general philosophy of the game. Shut. Your. Yapper.
Cheer, yes, coach, no.
This is soccer, not a fucking birthday party.
One word: FRUIT. Bring fruit.
Leave your cupcakes at home, juice boxes will be shunned and I will cut you if you bring an after-game party bag.
There is no room for Pinterest at a goddam soccer game. I’ve seen one mom bring those cake-pops as an after-game treat. Seriously? Why? I hereby give all parents permission to skip this bullshit and save your time and money for something worthwhile.
I get this, I really do – the need for parents to make kids feel special and reward them for participating. But since when did kids get trophies for not winning anything? Trophies, ribbons and medals don’t mean shit anymore. We are creating a generation of kids who are so fucking entitled that they expect to be handed the world just for showing up. I want my kid to sweat, train and work her ass off for that trophy.
My observations and commentary are harsh, but the helicopter parenting from the sidelines has got to stop. Do what you’d like when it’s not game-time, but when that whistle blows, coach and players would so appreciate it if you’d be on your best behavior.