Actually, it’s not just kids’ soccer. In February, more than 70 people were killed in a riot at a stadium in Port Said, Egypt, after a match between rivals El Masry and Al Ahly. In May, hundreds of Turkish soccer fans in Istanbul flooded the field, throwing chairs and flares at police, after a game that gave Galatasaray a championship title over its rival, Fenerbahce. Soccer just seems to ignite passion (check out this very interesting blog on the subject).
Where I live the soccer league tries to prevent bad behavior, starting with an orientation parents must attend their child’s first season that outlines how one should comport oneself at a league soccer game. The basic rules are: “Players play, coaches coach, parents cheer, and referees are human.” Needless to say, shouting “Slam the fuckers!” is frowned upon.
Sounds good, and in general most of us parents are very civilized at the league games. ‘Course there’s usually at least one bad apple who needs to express his inner asshole throughout the season (sorry, guys, it usually is a man).
“Logan! Goddamnit! Hustle! Oh, Jesus…Logan! GET YOUR BUTT OVER THERE AND SMASH THAT BALL IN!”
“C’mon, Taylor. You can run faster than Holden. Jeez. Pass him! Next time, I want you to lead the attack. What are you, tired or something?”
“SHARKS! Oh my God – you guys are LAME. You can do better than that! Awww, shit. FOCUS!”
According to the league orientation, I suppose we’re authorized to make a citizen’s arrest of the offending parent, but mostly everyone just averts their eyes in the way one might if a stranger started masturbating in a packed elevator.
[NEWS FLASH: I am writing this as I watch my younger son’s practice. One of the coaches has just marched off the field, carrying a stick from which dangles a used condom. I guess that’s called “field prep” in our area.]
The worst part is that you see these same people week after week, especially if you have more than one kid playing during a season. This fall our family has a total of six hours of practice each week and three games per weekend – which, what with arriving an hour early to practice before the game, adds up to about seven hours of play. That’s at least 13 hours of soccer, which increases the odds that if there is a Mr. Moron this season, we will have to endure his commentary. Or maybe — throw a chair at him.