Watching this should be mandatory for adult fans of kids’ games before stepping anywhere near the pitch.

Speak Your Mind Even if Your Voice Shakes, Unless You’re on the Sidelines of Your Kid’s Game. — In that case, shut the #@*! up!

I have been told that for better or for worse I am an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). That doesn’t mean that I am a crybaby exactly — just more prone to crying. I feel things deeply. I have a highly developed sense of empathy; it sometimes seems that not a day goes by that some stranger doesn’t completely bare their soul to me in line at the supermarket, waiting for an elevator, walking by the on a park bench. When someone is upset or angry near me, I can begin to feel physically ill as if I am internalizing the other person’s feelings.

Maybe that’s why I am finding it so hard to enjoy being the number 1 fan to my kiddos lately? Maybe that’s why I completely lost it and sobbed for an hour straight after my son’s soccer tryouts yesterday?

I love sports. I grew up in a sporty type of house. My dad was a four sport varsity athlete. Soccer was not one of those sports, but when his children gravitated toward the world’s game he quickly learned it, as did my mom. Both began playing in adult leagues and both sought coaching licenses. We did many other sports as well: Gymnastics, basketball, baseball, swimming, football, dance, golf, tennis, and so on. There was a little niche for every individual in the athletic world, but soccer or fútbol as I prefer to call it now was our whole family’s game.

It was my favorite and when I had my first child the first gift brought to him in the hospital was a little soccer ball that my dad brought in. He went home from the hospital in his Chiva’s jersey and I carried him out myself despite the don’t lift anything heavier than your baby rule.

I was never the quickest player on the field, but I was the most tenacious. I was the Rudy of my team. I would never be like Baggio — although I had taken many fieldgoal-esk penalty kicks in my day. I wasn’t Abby Wambach but I alone had the tenacity superior to that of the sum of many entire squads on the pitch. I loved the game — to this day I am heels-over-head (bicycle style) in love with el fútbol.

Soccer is something I am passionate about, so I do understand when emotions run high watching a game, and I know everyone loves their kids. That’s what makes it so hard right now to admit that I can barely stand it — soccer that is.

I have almost no patience left for being on the sideline of any sporting event — especially soccer — as my children play. I cannot bare to listen to what I perceive to be the obnoxious utterances of the parents around me — many of whom who I consider to be great friends.

My daughter has decided to switch from select to rec. “That will be nice for you.” the select parents say — as they juggle the try-out schedules for their own children in their minds. There seems to be a 2 club minimum (3 if you can afford teleportation or have some other in). Truth be told, my daughter and I went to a couple of rec games for her friend’s team while she made that decision with me. I sat on the sideline around no one that I knew blown away by how completely ludicrous the parents sounded. “Watch off-sides. Ref, seriously, wake-up that was a foul. That should be a card.” and so on. Kids were tripping over their own feet, the ref called kids looking at each other in the wrong way as fouls (There is apparently some kind of telepathic striking rule that has been added to rec soccer specifically that I was completely unaware of). And the parents — they still complained. They yelled loudly. Conversations on the sidelines revolved around the reputations of each of the other clubs. “Those Whoville kids are hacks, you know, ay. They don’t have any skills so they just push — Hey ref, that was a push” and on and on and on it went.

That may be the real difference between rec and select. In both leagues the roar of the sidelines are two waves of angry, testosterone driven yells with an occasional feminine echo now and again. At the rec level however the parents tend to be more likely to yell out something ludicrous like “That’s icing.” “That’s three strikes, he should be out.” or even “She can’t rough the goalie.” Whereas, the select parents at least have the lingo down and half of them may actually play, and they regularly watch professional level games.

But even if you think you are the soccer gods’ gift to the universe bestowed with mental instant replay abilities and an instant database with a 999 petabyte per second retrieval of all things FIFA, put your ass back in your fancy lawn chair that you cart around in the back of the family’s RAV-4 and shut the *bleep* up.

I am done having my soccer experience ruined by your ignorance. Your pipsqueak that just flopped on the field for no reason other than having her shoes untied is beginning to repeat the ridiculous things you say. I guess I shouldn’t blame you though your coach has already been asked to leave — three minutes into the freaking game.

So rather than blame my HSP for this one, I am going to point my finger at the people around me who are completely overwhelming my nervous system and leaving the sport I love a twisted, bloody heap of over-competitive rubbish. If it were a competition in overall jerk-dom and assholery, USA would be number 1 — hands down.

You are the reason that I lost it when last night my 12 year-old found himself cornered, being grilled about what other clubs he was trying out at and which one he planned to play for if he got offers from both. Hello, my 12 year-old won’t be signing any of the papers or paying any of the fees himself. You can’t make contracts with a minor. He just knew he was trying out at a couple different clubs with some different sets of friends. He would see where he made it and we would go from there. I would crunch the numbers and try to draw blood from the pebbles in my bank account and we would figure it out as a family.

Seriously, back off. Step away from my kid. If you have a question, ask me. I am honest to a fault. I’m open. I’m not a helicopter mom, but I am a single mom and I am starting to find that Momma Grizzly is my spirit animal.

One of my two favorite athletes.
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