An email arrived this week requesting that during this Saturday’s soccer games, all AYSO games enjoyed silence from the parents and coaches during play. Applause was welcome but cheering and coaching from the sidelines was respectfully asked to be absent. The point of this exercise (and if you’ve been to one of these games, this needs no explanation) was to minimize the number of distractions the players are dealing with and also relieve some of the burden faced by the all-volunteer staff. Serving as both coaches and referees, the volunteers, many of whom are high school age and younger are constantly challenged and contradicted by people who are supposed to be cheering.
For the most part, Silent Saturday worked pretty well at both Fiona’s and Drew’s game. The U6 girls kicked some serious duff and had a tremendous amount of fun judging by the giddy smiles on their faces. On the men’s side, the parents found the silence a bit more difficult. One mom in particular seemed to think her inability to restrain herself was endearing and after an outburst, she would look around at the sideline with a huge smile on her face and exclaim “I just can’t help myself.”
There we were, maybe fifty individuals, all sitting in silent unison on the sideline. Regardless of how we felt about the worthiness of “the ask” the point is we had been asked and subsequently did what the rules required. This woman, however, felt she was somehow above it, she was an exception. Her son just absolutely needed to hear her yelling everytime he touched the ball. It was a shame. Her son is a good player and could manage just fine without her. And that’s probably where the woman’s behavior comes in. What a terrifying prospect it must be that for some parents, their child’s success will sometimes have nothing to do with them. By yelling from the sideline, this mother must surely, in her mind, think she’s making a difference. And although, it’s plain to see by any rational person that she has no effect on the action, she continues to make an ass of herself.
As annoying as this woman was, the bigger point that is concerning is the message that the son may have gotten on this particular wind nipped Saturday. Everyone else was following the rules. Believe me, the silence was noticeable all of the kids were aware of it and were aware of Silent Saturday. But this kid heard his mom pay no attention to it. If she doesn’t pay attention to the rules, why should he?
It’s scary sometimes to think of who are kids have to go to school with. They’re made scary not because of who they are but because of who their parents are. Imagine, being an adult and not being able to keep your mouth shut for 60 minutes.
We are a Transmit Only Generation.