Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Downside of Youth Sports

Louisa had a soccer game, and it was hands down the worst children's sport experience I've ever seen. We usually play other Ft. Polk teams, but today we played one of the local town's teams. We went to the local sporting complex and met up with the other green Dragons.
Right when we got there I realized that there was no water for the kids to drink like there usually is, so I had to go all the way back to the truck to get money, and then to the concession stand to get Louisa a Powerade. It was just Drew and I because my husband stayed home with a sick little Hunter.
While I was buying the Powerade the game started so I turned to watch it. Louisa started out as goalie and a boy came up (in her little goalie square that he's NOT supposed to be in) and kicked the ball. She blocked it, so he pushed her down and kicked the ball in the goal. THREE things the ref should have blown his whistle on! One the kid was in her square, two he's not allowed to re-kick the ball after she blocks it, three he pushed her down. Ref didn't make the call until AFTER our two coaches ran on the field yelling.
Then another little girl got elbowed in the chest and pushed down. Again, the ref called it *after* our coaches yelled about it. The coach from the other team said it was an "accident". Ya, could be, but this is a *non-contact* sport! We have rules about just how much touching is appropriate for the safety of our children. And elbowing and purposely pushing kids down is not acceptable.
Finally, and the worst offense of the game, one of our girls got tripped (on purpose) and then kicked in both the face and the chest by a BOY on the other team! And yes, they wear cleats!!! What did the ref do? Look the other way!!! The little girl's mom ran on the field and THAT'S who the ref blew his whistle at! Can you believe that? Then the ref storms over with his whistle in his hands and says to our coach "Here, you take the damn thing then if you can do so much better than me! I quit!" and he stormed off the field.
One of the coordinators for the town's sports program comes storming over yelling at OUR coaches saying that they have a hard time finding volunteers and we just made one of them quit. We were all on our feet yelling. This little girl was crying and gasping for air because she's got asthma and got kicked in the chest by a cleat and the sports coordinator guy is yelling at us!!!
The coaches try to talk calmly between our Ft. Polk youth sports coordinator, the town's coordinator, the ref, and the other coach.... it didn't go well. In the end I don't know what will happen to the other team. The most they can do is ask the coach and ref to step down since they are only volunteers. Their coach claimed it's all "part of the game". NOT for 8 and 9-year-olds it's not! They played dirty and rough and we already said we refuse to play them again.
How sad for those parents and that coach that they need to win so badly they allow their children to play that way. We didn't even get through the first half before they called the game. And they called it all because the mom on our team jumped up to run out and get her daughter. Heaven forbid a mother protect her daughter who's getting kicked in the chest by a cleat!
The other team packed up and left right away, pouting and mumbling. What did we do? Our coaches took advantage of the opportunity of the wide open field and we played a kids vs. parents game. Major kudos to these two ARMY guys who volunteer their time to coach our kids, after what I know is a long day at work. Not only did they rationally try to discuss our problem at a time when all tempers where flaring, but they ended this day on a positive note. And that, my friends, is so much more important to me than anything else. Louisa left with a huge smile on her face because she got to play her mom in soccer, and everyone was laughing and having a good time.
My heart goes out to the kids on the other team. Most of them being pawns of a coach and parents who are so hell bent on winning that they encourage their kids to play so roughly. Shame on them.


Shooter said...

And you wonder who the kids are really playing for, themselves or their parents. Dispicable.

Chaos Mommy said...

Yes, you're so right, Shooter!
And since posting this, I've heard many WORSE horror stories of what's happened to people's children while playing sports. I thought that kind of dirty playing was only on TV and in the movies! It's not! It's in Everytown, USA just like the one we live in. :(