Dispatches from Planet Soccer

Writing in the Winona Daily News, Maggie Modjeski doesn’t identify the city and parents who allegedly made life miserable for her kid’s soccer team last weekend. But, the ongoing anecdotes tell us, it could be just about anywhere.

The travel team’s visit to the home field of Team Unnamed started well enough. When they arrived the host parents welcomed the players and parents and thanked them for traveling so far to play their team in a rescheduled game.

Then the game started, she writes.

The physical aspect of the game was overshadowed by the commentary. From the opposing parents any time a call went against them, to the players whose language was fouler than the smell of their cleats. The coach joined in the fun as well. The official who was a young lady took a pretty good beating, as our parents and team remained quiet as hard as it was.

Officiating a game is not easy. The calls aren’t always perfect. But having adults yelling at you from the sidelines and a player argue and shout obscenities at you make the job that much more difficult. This official kept her cool, and kept making the calls.

Sitting there hearing the nonsense and not replying was very difficult. My first instinct was to yell back or comment. Fortunately, I was surrounded by great parents who help everyone keep their cool. At halftime I ran into the welcoming parent, and she wasn’t so much anymore. She made a few comments, I smiled, nodded and bit off my tongue and walked away.

This is all learned behavior, as is sportsmanship, she concludes. Today’s soccer parents are raising tomorrow’s soccer parents.

Her kid’s team lost.

“My son shared that one particular player was embarrassed at how much his dad was yelling. Our boys didn’t feel bad about the loss; we knew we played hard, we didn’t make a scene, and no one was hurt,” she says.