my son’s soccer team is a real buzzkill

I am a soccer mom. And I gotta say, it’s starting to be a real buzzkill.

The game is fine. My son runs around, he gets a jersey, he gets exercise, he gets a snack, who could ask for anything more?

But about that snack. We parents received this email from the league:

No donuts.  It’s soccer.  Breakfast before, lunch after.  Snacks should be limited to fruit and water.

Wow. Way to recognize all the parents who have been volunteering to drag two shopping bags full of drinks and snacks all the way from their apartments (this is New York City, after all- no cars, no trunks). They have given their time, their money, and whatever they bring is always fallen upon by kids acting like they have never eaten in their lives.

And by the way, wouldn’t we all be thrilled if our kids’ sports teams said “no snacks”?  Or if they told everyone to bring their own water bottle? But to arm-twist us into “volunteering” snacks for a dozen Manwich appetites-and then to send a snotty email because some kid’s mom brought Munchkins- seems a little ungrateful. Even the kids remember to say thank you once in a while.

But that was two weeks ago. Last week we soccer parents got this one:

Please be reminded that this week is Silent Soccer. We are not asking you NOT to cheer for your players. We are simply asking you to do so in a silent manner.

Say what?

So, sometime this week, stop at the store and pick up some poster board and markers. Talk to your player about what they do best on the field and make a special sign for them. Decide to use the gesture of hands up in the air and waving to celebrate a goal!

Yes, parents! Add that trip to the art store to your yawningly boring weekday! Why not “decide to use the gesture” that we are strictly prescribing you use? Please be reminded that using only one hand in the air, pumping it with closed fist, has already been co-opted by Arsenio Hall circa 1990 and is NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR SILENT SOCCER USE.

But even this was not enough. Some parents apparently continued to behave in ways highly embarrassing to both themselves and the sport their second-grader claims to love, because last week, we received an emailed list of

South Side Soccer League No-Nos

No-nos. Because we are best addressed at the preschool level. I’ll spare you the whole list but this one was new:

4. No verbs.  Support your kids as they play but without instructions.  Try losing the verbs.


7. Enjoy all the interesting parents who are cracking up at their creative attempts not to use verbs.

Too bad the “interesting parents on the sidelines” are looking for whoever wrote this email so they can tell them where to shove these “creative attempts.”  Oh wait, “shove” is a verb. So they can tell whoever wrote this email… it sucks… it is insulting to our intelligence… hoo boy, am I cracking up! What fun!

Why does everything our kids do have to be so over-thought, over-programmed, needlessly strict? When I was growing up, as long as there wasn’t more than three inches of snow on the ground, there was a pickup wiffle-ball game in my backyard every day after school. The bases were dirt patches. No refs. We drank Hugs. We used verbs.

imagesThat way of life seems Leave-it-to-Beaver-distant now. We don’t have a backyard, and the last time I checked, you need a permit to play wiffle ball in the park. But I feel duty-bound, as my children’s mother, to help them remember that the reason they are playing sports is that they- and all of us- are supposed to ENJOY it. And I’m not sure treating the parents and players like recalcitrant toddlers will get any of us there.

So watch for me on the soccer field this weekend. I’ll be the one saying “Go, Seamus!” Why yes, that was a verb. And I might yell it like, really loud. Heck, I might even bring Munchkins.



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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Experienced Bad Mom October 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Youth sports is so different now than when we were growing up. Our rec league for soccer wants all games coached to a tie (fine, whatever) but then our travel baseball league is so cutthroat that our coach regularly gets tossed out for arguing with the umpire, usually when we are either clearly going to win or lose. It’s like two extremes and neither one is fun or healthy!


Amy Wilson October 16, 2013 at 12:08 am

that is nuts, your kids must get whiplash!


Mollie October 15, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Silent Soccer? No verbs? I am very eager to hear whether this is a craze sweeping the youth-sports nation or just a local instance of hyper-controlling sports-league organizers, because to me it sounds capital-N Nuts. How about a week where whoever is sending these emails tries going silent themselves instead of micromanaging the parents?


Amy Wilson October 16, 2013 at 12:07 am

I can vouch for Silent Soccer being a nationally mandated event. I have a feeling the “no verbs” thing is our local form of cray-cray.


Stephanie Precourt October 15, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Oh my gosh I want to laugh but… WOW. This can’t be FOR REAL??? Hilarious!


Amy Wilson October 16, 2013 at 12:08 am

swear to god.


Stephanie Macaluso Bartolo October 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I really wish I could use several different swear words to describe how I feel about this, but I’m a lady so I’ll refrain. But, seriously! WTF?! As a 14 year veteran of kids soccer, my jaw literally dropped when I read this. Who are the people running this league? Apparently they’ve never played a sport or done anything competitive in their lives. No matter how you slice it, its a competition. There are winners and losers. Always. If you treat the kids like this they are never going to learn to take a loss and improve their game. They are going to be whiny little wusses.Ridiculous.


Amy Wilson October 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Stephanie, I agree, although it is hard when you have the kid crying because he’s never really had the experience of losing. Ugh so tough!


sharisim October 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Wow. Um… wow.


Missy October 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

I’ve had this post open in one of the many tabs on my browser for days. I laughed-nodded-rolled my eyes through this post, because I get it. And wish I didn’t get it.

We had Silent Soccer last weekend, too. It was the most boring game ever (except for the one dad who cannot be silent – he’s the guy that created a need for such a concept). Kids sports are getting ridiculous. The no “verbs” and the “no-no” snack list haven’t made it to Texas yet, but I won’t be surprised at all when it happens.


alexandra October 31, 2013 at 2:30 am

This is REAL? I just read it to my soccer player. Oh we had a good laugh. Sorry, at your expense. THIS? Ridonkulous.


Deathstar January 10, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I hope this never comes to Canada. But my son will be entering kindergarten next fall and I’m sure I will have lots of modern day parenting educamacation ahead of me.


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