The past couple of days I’ve been running out to get the newspaper in the morning so I can throw it open and see if the letter to the editor I sent in has been published. It hasn’t. Trouble is, kids getting screamed at by coaches and sports officials just isn’t newsworthy anymore, so I will post my opinion here instead.
I Am at the Park, But I Am Not Having Fun
A teenage soccer player returned to the sidelines from the handshake, spouting the f-word, at the annual co-ed tournament Saturday. That’s when a man came strutting across the field, clipboard in hand and started jabbing his finger at the boy, screaming, making his point that this player would be banned from soccer if he ever, I SAID, EVER, did that again. This guy was up on his toes, an inch from the boy’s face, in a tirade. The youth responded in classic teenager talk-back and disrespect our culture has modeled and glorified for him.
He is a good kid, so when his energy is correctly organized he does great things on the soccer field, but, when it is scattered, he makes the colossal youthful mistake of shipping out his anger in ways that provoke us.
I barely know the rules of soccer, and even though parents talked on the sidelines of issues with refs, I ignored that because I was there for the parts I DO understand: my pride in kids who are running in the sunshine trying to impress with fancy footwork, speed, tenacity, spirit, determination. Joy.
I do not typically approach bullies and suggest they have misbehaved, but I did as the gentleman was strutting back, relieved of his own pent-up frustrations.
“As a parent, I want you to know, I am unimpressed by the way you just handled that,” I said quietly. “I’m President”, he announced grandly, then , “You didn’t see what I saw. That boy went down the line in the handshake and said ‘b***s***’ to every player on the opposing team. We don’t stand for that.” “Fine” I said, “but what you just did is no way to manage a player who is breaking the rules.”
To my way of thinking, this player should be out of the game. Period. No yelling by coaches, no public scenes. Kids cannot learn to play fair or be decent if we don’t teach them. This gentleman should be embarrassed to say he is a leader, coach, adult, or parent because the exchange I witnessed was wrong on all levels. To his credit, after our chat he apologized to some parents.
Let’s teach our children to respect adults. Let us as adults earn respect from our kids, not by throwing tantrums, but by being more mature, more experienced, more understanding, more anything, but not just simply, more LOUD.
I sent this in to the Daily Local Op/Ed page but I got the impression that adults/coaches screaming at children was old news since political stuff seemed to beat it out.