Simmer down, soccer parents

How many times am I going to write about parents behaving badly at their own kids’ sporting events?

How many times is Kim Kardashian going to get married? We have no way of knowing, right? Ditto on the bad parents. The possibilities are endless.

My latest rant stems from last Saturday’s U10 soccer game between my younger son’s team and their local rivals. Tom warned me going in that it wasn’t going to be pretty.

Hoo boy. He sure wasn’t kidding.

Here’s what when down:

The game was heated. An opposing player may or may not have tripped a player on Tom’s team, but the ref called a foul. And then the little opposing player said, “Are you f***in’ kidding me?” to the ref. The referee heard the remark and gave the young player a yellow card.

Then the opposing coach screamed in outrage because he disagreed with the ref that what his player said was offensive and inappropriate. He already had bullied the young refs into calling some other fouls his way.

So in my worldview, that coach should have at the least received a yellow card and at the most been ejected from the game. But no. Nothing. The other parents and I were dumbfounded.

In disgust, I wrote a letter to the league board. Here’s an excerpt:

“Hmmm. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why a young player on that team would feel entitled to express his displeasure with the referee’s call. Just look at the coach.

While I find any behavior of this sort abhorrent, it’s especially disturbing given the context. It’s a recreational soccer game. These children are 9 and 10 years old. The stakes are non-existent. Seriously, it’s not worth developing high blood pressure over whether a referee made a proper call.

I’m certain this is not the first complaint you have received about this particular coach’s sideline behavior, and I’m just as certain it won’t be the last, unless the man receives some sort of anger-management training. I just feel so sorry for whomever he goes home to.”


I think the league needs to ask itself whether the coaching behavior exhibited today is how the league wants to present itself.

So far, I’ve heard nothing from any of the board members who received my letter. It’ll be a week tomorrow.

Here’s the problem, people. Adults watching their children playing team sports have lost all perspective. I grew up barely after Title IX took effect, so most girls I knew didn’t play team sports before junior high or high school. Some boys did play Little League, but I don’t remember their parents going ape over their kids’ freakish athletic ability, plastering their cars with sport clings with their kiddos’ name and number on it, driving all over Hell’s Half-Acre to watch them play whatever sport they played.

And that would mostly be because the parents were busy with other things in life and saw sports as a diversion and learning experience to keep kids busy until more important things came along – like school and jobs.

I really think the energy expended by people like that opposing coach could be channeled into making sure their kids learn what they need to learn in school, set some attainable life goals and work on becoming a human being who could make the world a better place.

But I think I’m in the minority.


Don’t hate me because I’m ready for the Rapture

I’m trying to get ready for the end of the world on Saturday, but first I have to go to the dentist tomorrow morning, which might be just as bad.

Wait a minute, you’re thinking, if you’re anything like my mom. “Why the hell are you wasting your time at the dentist?” she asked when I told her that Judgment Day is Saturday yet I have a Thursday dental appointment.

Hey, I’m not making this up. Check out this web site here.

And she’s right, of course. But the original dental appointment was March 4. I had to reschedule because I was in the hospital.  So they gave me May 19. And I would reschedule for some time post-rapture, just in case, but you know how long it takes to get back into the dentist when you reschedule. And plus, post-rapture, my dentist might just be a zombie, and I really don’t want to take any chances either with zombies or plaque and tartar.

So. My problem with going on Thursday is that my hygienist is a premillennialist. She’s just so excited about the idea of believers being swept up into heaven, with non-believers left behind to fight the zombies and looters and what have you. She’s practically gleeful about it.

How do I know this? Well, I’ll tell you. About two years ago, I was in the dentist chair, getting my teeth cleaned. Now, she might be a garden-variety wacko, but the woman gives a majorly awesome tooth cleaning. Really gets under those gums, gets all the tartar.

So my mouth is wide open while I watch the TV, trying not to notice the sound of the scraping of her sickle probe on my enamel. Some kind of wild story came on the Today show, something that would just make you think, “By God, the world is going to hell in a hand basket.” And I said something to the effect of, “Ah thuh the wuh uh gung to heh i uh haabaka.”

She turned to look at the TV, then turned back to me. I could tell she was smiling by the way her heavily made-up eyes crinkled above her mask. “I’m just so excited,” she said.

I made a noise. “Huh?”

“I’m just so excited because Jesus is coming back really soon!” she said, grabbing her hose thingy, squirting some water in my mouth and then using the suction dealy to suck it all out.

I knew better, but before I could stop myself, I said, clear as day with my freshly rinsed mouth, “Really.”

“Don’t you know?” she asked. “The world is going to end on May 21, 2011. It’s in the Bible.”

I’m guessing the look on my face conveyed skepticism instead of the slight twinge of fear I was feeling, because she peered closer at me. “Don’t you know about The Rapture?” she said.

Well, duh. Who doesn’t? Only I don’t know all the gory details because for one thing, I’m a United Methodist. We don’t particularly espouse that theology. And for another, if I had a penny for all the times the world was going to end in my short 42 years, dang. I’d have at least a quarter.

And when will I learn to just go with the flow? As my mama always said, you don’t always have to let people know you know more than they think you do. But no. I had to admit to this suddenly-scaring-me woman that I had never actually read the Bible’s final chapter, the book of Revelation.

I sure don’t have to read it now, because she began quoting it and giving me details about what would actually happen on May 21 and where she hoped to be.

You’re wondering why, if I’m such a badass, I didn’t just rip off that paper drape and high-tail it out of there.

I’ll tell you. It was like watching a train wreck or a large spider spinning a web or someone you don’t know blow chunks. It horrified me, but I couldn’t look away. I was a little shell-shocked.

But hey, I quickly just filed the experience away as one to pull out at dinner parties, kind of like my story about getting hit on in a grocery store by a dwarf buying box wine(true story.)

And then last Sunday, my kids started joking about the end of the world, and I saw billboards advertising Judgment Day (somebody’s gotta make a buck, just in case they get left behind, I guess.) And then today, I remembered the dentist appointment and my crazy hygienist. Ugh on both counts.

But you know what? I figure I’m going to get left behind anyway, since I’m forever making fun of the “end of days” concept. I’m hoping God has a sense of humor (see: platypus, male nipples,) but He might not be in the mood to joke.  So I’m just going to have some fun.

If the hygienist brings this up tomorrow – better yet, maybe I’ll bring it up – I’m going to detail everything I’m doing to get ready, just in case I’m left behind: underground bunker, year’s supply of drinking water, homemade bombs, vasectomy-reversal tools in case Matt and I have to repopulate Earth, dog and cat food, and a bunch of Martha Stewart magazines – because I’m sure she’s got recipes that incorporate dirt and worms somewhere.

So that’ll be fun.