I do not live in a violent town. We do not, to the best of my knowledge, have gangs roving our suburban streets, preying on the weak. Sure, we have transgressions, but they tend to be minor – traffic offenses, a bit (which is too much) of drug use, shoplifting. That sort of stuff. But apparently, there is a population to be feared. People who are needlessly, viciously victimizing some of the youth in our town: some soccer parents.
Here’s an excerpt from an email sent last night from the directors of our town’s soccer league which talks about how some of the child referees at our games are being treated:
“Since the season began, we have had:
— A player receive a yellow-card for verbally abusing a referee (an adult referee, no less)
— A referee witness two (opposing) coaches go nose-to-nose in a screaming match, with another adult stepping in to prevent possible physical involvement
— Multiple coaches not only (loudly) criticize referees during games, but also continuing the harassment AFTER the game (in at least one case, using profanity)
— NUMEROUS referees report back that they were subject to snide/sarcastic comments from spectators on the sidelines
— SEVERAL referees tell us they are no longer interested in being assigned due to the harassment from coaches and spectators
— A number of referees tell us that they will not officiate at games involving certain teams or divisions (again due to the treatment they received during an assignment).
All of us, as a community, should be embarrassed. These referees are:
1. Kids. With just a few exceptions, they are 11-17 years old. Yes, kids.
2. If that isn’t enough to make us keep our mouths shut … they are OUR kids. They are my kids … they are some of your kids. They are your kids’ friends … they are your friends’ kids. Someday they may be your son-in-law or daughter-in-law.
Well said. And I am embarrassed as well as ashamed! Adults behaving badly in front of other adults (and, now, on television) is bad enough. But to behave disgracefully in front of your kids and those in your own town? That’s reprehensible!
We live in a community where you meet your neighbors everywhere: at restaurants, in the grocery store, at the community center, on the blacktop. How can you look someone in the eye, wave to them, chat them up, when you’ve just berated their child for making the best calls he/she can on the soccer field? How can you have these kids over your house and assure them they’re in a safe environment when you’ve just verbally attacked them at a weekend game?
The email goes on to say:
“We are sorry that this e-mail had to be written, especially to those (many) of you to whom this does not apply. This is RECREATION-LEVEL soccer, with the games played by 6-18 year olds. This is not professional sports, or the World Cup, where “riding the official” is (for whatever reason) “part of the game” or where a coach “works the official” in hopes of getting favorable calls. I can’t imagine any of us would enjoy being publicly called out for every perceived error in judgment that we may make throughout our day. If that’s where your head is, we respectively suggest that you find another program for you and your child.”
Bravo to the directors for making the community aware of this problem! Kudos to them for having the courage to stand up for the kid referees.
We all want to live in a safe place. Children, especially, need to grow up as secure as possible. No one needs to fear this, or any kind of maliciousness. We, as parents, need to grow up.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog. MomsCrayon is a New Jersey mom.
Photo credit given to getty images at MomLogic.