Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When the Cleat is on the Other Foot

First, the good news.

We went to Denver for a soccer tournament. Our U10 boys won their division. Awesome.

Here are the happy, little champs!

And now for the bad news. Remember last spring when I was complaining about obnoxious soccer parents? Truly, I hate obnoxious parents at sporting events--no matter what the sport. Personally, I find the hockey parents scariest of all, but soccer parents can hold their own.

So not to downplay our team's efforts at the tournament this past weekend, but the team was clearly placed in a bracket that was too easy. They won the first game 11 - 0. Second game: 17 - 1. Third game: 6 - 1. And I have to say that all of these teams we rolled over so badly, lost with graciousness. Their parents were also gracious. There was no snarking on the sidelines. There were some tears from their players, but heck, I felt like crying for them, too. Even though someone has to lose, it must be hard to lose that badly. And there's no mercy rule in tournaments because everything is on a point system--you want to score as many goals as possible to improve your ranking.

Anyway, the boys, who were understandably very excited by their success (and they did play amazingly well), made it to the championship game. The other team was from the Denver Storm--the team that beat ours in the finals last summer. I'll admit, we all, players and parents alike, were a little bit nervous about the face off. And we all wanted to stuff it to this team, frankly. They played roughly--not aggressively, I'm OK with that--last summer. I don't dig unncessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct from anyone and this team took the cake. A lot of pushing, tripping and elbowing and not really caring who saw it.

The game started. It was rough. It was aggressive. We scored three quick goals. And then there was a collision between one of our players and one of theirs. Just a collision--no one in particular at fault. But despite the fact that it was just a collision, one of our parents chose to make a very loud, nasty comment that many of their players and parents heard.

I was mortified. The other parents on our team were mortified. And it was all downhill from there. From then on, the opposing team's parents felt like they could say whatever they wanted because "we" had pretty much thrown down the gauntlet. It was painful to sit on the sidelines and listen to them spout off--they obviously felt justified because we were horrible soccer parents.

Ugh. That game couldn't end fast enough for me.

And the bummer is that all of our parents were tarred with that same brush--we were all branded as ungracious because of one parent's comments. I hate that. In the end, we beat them 5 - 1. It was a dirty fought game by their team, but the satisfaction of our team winning was gone because I was so embarassed by one person's behavior.

At one point during the weekend, when we were clearly rolling over all of the competition, a tournament official said he wanted to invite us back in the spring and put us in a higher bracket. I can't even imagine how we'll get bracketed now--I'm guessing they're out for revenge! But maybe I'm just being paranoid.

For now, I'll just focus on hockey. Because, oh yes, hockey has started and we're running between two sports for the rest of October. Sports are colliding.


Anonymous said...

Ouch! And we try to be good examples for our children right?!

Happy Tuesday, lMnop

Kristie said...

You know, I've been the parent who in the heat of the moment said an ugly thing ... thankfully, never loud enough for anyone else to hear. But it's still embarrassing to know something as "simple" as children's sports can bring out such ugliness in me!! And I hear it bringing out such ugliness in others, on a regular basis. It's really too bad, isn't it? I hope it doesn't taint the tournament win for you guys .....

Anonymous said...

Congratulate Declan for me! Ugh, parents can be such spoil sports !


sportzmom said...

It's amazing how adults behave! We had a grandparent charge the ref over a call during a U-8 game. Congrats on the win though!

Anonymous said...

Oh!! If we were not on the internet and paranoid little old me wasn't worried that all the over the top, obnoxious parents I've run across in the last 17 years of parenting children through youth sports would somehow be reading this blog.....the stories I could tell! They would curl your hair. Literally. Not that you need help there, but still.... :)

Mary Z

Jordyn said...

I have always said that the parents ruin it for me. As a parent myself and as a coach. In fact I gave up coaching b/c I couldn't handle the parents.

I can be competitive but I always try to maintain good sportsmanship and I always teach my kids that as well.

Congrats on your win. I'm just sorry it was tainted by a parent.