I know I’ve touched on this before, but check out Black Hockey Jesus’ post about attending one of his kid’s soccer games recently.
In a nutshell, before the season started all the parents had to sign a “spectator contract” in which they agreed not to boo or shout anything negative at the games. Furthermore, they can’t yell at the referees and they are REQUIRED to ask their kids “what was the most fun?” after each and every game.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!
Look, I’m not advocating the screaming of obscenities and no one likes to see that crazed (and possibly drunk) parent humiliating himself, his kid and everyone else around him at a youth sporting event. And yes, some parents can get out of hand. A few years ago two dads got into a fight at a hockey game north of Boston and one of them beat the other to death. That is just crazy and there’s no place for it.
However, the pussification of kids is spreading to the parents. I want to say right now, that I would NEVER have signed this document. And it’s not because I plan on shouting at the top of my lungs. But I know for sure I’d end up questioning some of the ref’s calls if they were terrible. And besides, we are talking about competition here. Winning and losing. Taking pride in beating the other team. And, if a kid illegally slide-tackled my kid on a breakaway and the ref didn’t blow the whistle, you can bet your ass I’d be hollering from the sidelines at least a little bit.
You can’t legislate common sense. Parents should know not to make asses of themselves on the sidelines. And if they do get out of hand, they should be removed. But questioning a call on the field is not getting out of hand. It’s natural and perfectly acceptable as long as it’s not done in an inappropriate or threatening manner.
Besides, the best sporting events I can recall from my youth involved hard feelings. I was an summer league all star in baseball and there were specific teams we just hated. Whenever we played Franklin or Foxboro we knew tensions would run high. We’d hear crap from the players and we’d catch shit from the parents. And you know what? It made the game better. More intense. It got out juices flowing and made us rise to another level. Hell, one time Foxboro tried to steal one of our bats after my best friend hit a walkoff homerun. There was nearly a bench clearing brawl as my buddy went over to their bench while screaming at the coach, dumped out their equipment bag and took back what was his.
I don’t recall these things with fear and loathing. I remember them as some of the best times of my childhood. But now everything has changed. If that game was played today, there would’ve been no walkoff homerun because nobody would’ve been keeping score for God’s sake. Because today we live in a world where everyone is equal and everything ends in a friendly tie. It’s a generation of sister kissers now and it makes me ill to think this is what’s in store for Will as he gets older and starts playing team sports.
But one thing’s for sure: I am NEVER signing any stupid contract and the referees will hear me!