(By an anonymous contributor)
An open letter to the parents sitting in front of me at the soccer tournament today:
I want you to know; I get it, I really do. I have been a soccer mom for a while now. I know how excited we get and how we love watching our children play. I’m sure you would have been more subtle if you knew that the mother of the ref you were yelling at was sitting behind you, but I guess since you did not know I was there, I felt I should reach out to you.
Your daughter’s team did not lose because of my son. He is not an “Idiot;” the assistant ref who you said is also an idiot is a young woman who plays and loves the game as much as your daughter on the field. Your daughter’s team did not tie 0 to 0 because the refs did not call a foul or make a call.
The score was not Nil to Nil because you felt the ball was kicked out by the other team who was rewarded the ball. Your daughter’s team did not miss scoring a goal because my son did not blow his whistle loud enough for you to hear or because he softly told the girls to replay without shouting it so loud you could hear. I could have returned the favor and yelled, “Hey, Number 43, what are you, an idiot? You just tried to dribble through 3 defenders while your left-wing was wide open calling for the ball.” I could have yelled, “Hey, Number 28, you need to dribble while looking up so you can see the girl you are about to collide with, and then your dad is going to scream for a foul.”
I could have responded to the mom whose daughter texted her during her game that she was losing her game 3-1 at half because they were getting “slammed” by the referees by telling her she should tell her daughter to stop texting at half time and listen to what her coaches were saying. I could have yelled, “you suck,” every time your daughter passed to a player that wasn’t there or lost the ball because she held on too long, but I did not. I just sat one row behind you quietly as you continued to berate my son.
To the mom that noticed, you’re right, my son is a good-looking young boy; thanks for noticing, but you are wrong; he does not care more about his looks than the game. He Loves the game. He did make some mistakes; so did the assistant referees. I haven’t been to a game yet where at some point in the game, there is not a questionable judgment call or an outright bad call. There is a reason that professional leagues like NFL and MLB have instant replay; because – guess what – it is really hard to make calls correct 100 percent of the time.
My son is, first and foremost, a soccer player himself. He gets upset on the field sometimes when a questionable call is made. He, too, at times, wants to blame the referees. I tell him what I would also suggest you share with your daughter. There are times when a bad call can impact a game, but what if the ball goes in when there is a wide-open net? Or if one of the 20 shots on goal went in and not 20 feet above the net? A few bad calls would not have impacted the game.
That’s OK. Your daughter is learning the game every play. Every game helps your daughter to become a better soccer player. Do you know what else will make her a better soccer player? Letting her know that you enjoyed watching her play, that overall it was a good game, with lots of opportunities, that come one day, with dedication and practice, some of those opportunities may go her way.
Or, instead, as I am sure you did on the ride home, you can blame my son.
Yours in Soccer,
A Soccer Mom