Saw a tweet recently that read:
“The worst thing about youth sports? Adults.”
My kid played in a recent large soccer tournament near Denver, and in the first game the opposing coach was ejected by the referee for arguing and berating the ref, and in the second game a parent was ejected for yelling at the ref and coming on to the field. In both cases it was embarrassing for everyone involved and the kids just stood there looking perplexed. The culprits took their sweet time leaving the field, holding up play for at least 5 minutes while they slowly walked around the field. In the case of the coach, he tried to hide behind some parents but the assistant referee caught him out and stopped play again. It’s mind-boggling why adults feel the need to get so invested in a child’s game.
With the new season, I’ve found I’m much more removed from my child’s soccer “career”. I watch the games with interest, I offer encouragement at home, I practice in the backyard if the kid asks … but I let the kid lead in everything. I have the feeling they won’t be playing for much longer and I intend to enjoy as much of it as can. After games I merely say, “I love you. I love watching you play.” Usually later that night, they’ll bring up the game and we’ll talk about it, but that’s about it. It’s much more peaceful this way.
No more roaming the sidelines. I stopped critiquing practices (I hardly even attend anymore). I made a vow to stop criticizing the players and the coach. Imagine if someone sat outside my office door mumbling and shaking their head at my every keystroke or phone call. It would weigh on my after awhile. Mental atmosphere matters, and I’m striving to create a healthy and loving one for my child. Let them take ownership. Let it be fun.
What do you think?