Think Parents, think!

Nick Martin is a columnist with the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s also an amateur youth soccer referee in Winnipeg. In his Tuesday column he writes that, after being yelled at several times by at least one parent of a nine-year-old soccer player girl, “End of the match, the coach comes over and tells me that he’s told his parents that it’s unacceptable for them to yell at the referee, whereupon he starts telling me what a crummy job I did and arguing call upon call.”
One only has to attend any soccer or hockey game to realize that the intensity of the parents is, in many cases, way over the top. Yelling at the ref is almost always unacceptable. It’s not as if a person’s livelihood depends on the outcome of the game. It’s not as if the national championship is in the balance when a youth soccer or hockey coach or baseball ump blows a call.
The shame that an over-the-top parent brings upon themselves and on their children causes a turning in  the pit of my stomach. A shame sweeps over me when parents get all steely-eyed and nasty about the referee’s calls. Over-the-top parental calls shame their child, shame themselves and degrade the game to a point that many fans, parents and kids just don’t want to be there. And that in itself is a shame.
Yelling at the coach or at the child player is just as bad, maybe worse. Quite frankly, if a parent can’t shut up, they shouldn’t be at the game. It’s called a spectator sport for a reason; you are supposed to watch and cheer. 
Why people engage negatively in youth sporting events is beyond me. Perhaps I’m too self conscious, but stupidly drawing attention to oneself is a folly that evades my comprehension.
Cheering is great. Applauding a good play is very good. Expressing some kind of anti-cheer for  a bad play or a questionable call is fair. But to berate a ref or a coach or a kid, that’s totally wrong.
If I were a coach or a referee, I would walk over to the offending person and hand them the whistle or the clipboard and walk off the field or out of the arena. If you are that intense about your feelings about the coach or the ref’s incompetence then you should be a more than adequate replacement.
Sports is supposed to bring about maturity and growth. If that’s the case, it’s obvious that some parents have never played sports. 
Sometimes sports aren’t fair. Get used to it. Life isn’t fair. No amount of protesting and whining is going to change that fact. The world disasters aren’t fair. The incidence of disease in a person’s life isn’t fair. Most of the things that we have no control over aren’t fair. Get used to it buddy (or honey)!
Life’s unfairness doesn’t need to be made all that much worse by idiot reactions to a nine-year-old’s hockey or soccer game. We expect our children to grow up. We should expect the same of the parents.

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