Shut Your Pie Hole….Please

           While spending another Sunday watching youth lacrosse, I was reminded that we all take our kid’s sports too seriously. At the beginning of every season, all the parents are asked to review the Code of Conduct which ALWAYS stipulate to shut your pie hole and let the coaches do the coaching, while you curtail your commentary to cheering and clapping for a job well done.

                In full disclosure, I along with every member of my immediate family, have broken the sacred rule of not coaching from the sidelines. We all get a little too excited, especially when we know the sport well. After spectating for 13 years, I’ve thankfully evolved to an almost meditative state. Simply observing, letting the bad calls wash over me like a wave and then letting them go as the wave recedes. Followed by a few silent yoga Om’s and limiting myself to yelling out the occasional, “good job!”  

                If you really want entertainment seek out the parents watching their first born. It takes years of discipline to become aware of how stupid we sound yelling useless directions. “Get back. Get up. Go..go..go. Hustle. Shoot. Pass. Get open. Get on him.” I can tell you on good authority that 1. Your kids hate it when you yell. 2. They can’t hear you 90% of the time anyway. 3. It’s just youth sports, so get a grip on your verbal diarrhea.

                Not to stereo type dads, but it’s not a stretch to expect them to be living vicariously through their kids. There’s always one dad who has never read the Code of Conduct or simply thinks it only applies to everyone else. He’s always hovering close to the sideline, moving restlessly side-to-side wearing his favorite sports team shirt. By 10 minutes in, you know what’s coming, but the sheer volume and irritation in his tone still catches you by surprise. He’s the one initiating the sideline brawl with the other team or getting booted by the ref. To the rest of the dads who keep it together, kudos to you. Many of you have coached youth sports, so THANK YOU. 

                Let’s not forget about those OTT moms. Sadly, as a newer sports mom, I was guilty as charged. Now that I’ve evolved, hearing moms’ outbursts, outside of the expected accolades for their own kid, throws me off. I have zero tolerance for that broken record mom, who clearly doesn’t understand the rules of the game. However, she just can’t stop herself from repeating stuff that makes no sense. My advice is to stick to cheering for obvious things like a goal.

                The most annoying comments are when directed at the referee. The refs are the unsung heroes of youth sports. They are clearly underpaid for the abuse they endure. No matter what call they make, someone is unhappy. You’ve got the coaches, parents and players second guessing every call. I’ve had to chastise my hubby on a few occasions for yelling about a perceived unfair call or yelling “thank you” for calling a penalty in our favor. Is that necessary? Do the refs give a shit about the parent’s approval? In his defense, he’s coached our youngest in lacrosse, so at least he knows what he’s talking about.

                My mom, “Mimi”, is by far the worst offender. After years of giving her the harry eyeball or reminding her of afore mentioned reason to put a lid on it, she’s been somewhat muted during lacrosse games. However, soccer is an entirely different story because she coached my team as a kid. She’s a lost cause during my nephew’s soccer games, because she’s an expert. My dad, Muppy, was also a soccer coach. He’s much more reserved on the sideline. I can see the wheels turning, so I know exactly what he’s thinking, but he keeps it to himself. On the rare occasion that we attend our nephew’s game, you can see me slowly migrating to a different part of the sideline as the game progresses.

                Thinking back to the beginning of our sports journey, you’d think we were watching the boys going for the Gold in the Olympics. God forbid one of them didn’t get enough playing time or didn’t always do his best. The hubby recently reminded me of an embarrassing moment from the early soccer years. We were both simultaneously yelling (no idea what) at our kid and one of our team moms gave us a look like “you two are nuts, dial it back.” It was one of those moments we often reflect upon to keep our perspective.

                It’s fun to remember how much has changed as the boys have grown. Every weekend, including holidays, here we’d come with our juice boxes, Goldfish and collapsible lawn chairs wondering if it was our turn to bring half-time snacks, but we forgot. Sports life is simpler now. The older one drives himself to games and practice, no more team snack responsibilities and the youngest is just happy to be playing with friends. We’ve spent so much of our lives on the sidelines, it’s hard to imagine how we’ll spend our time when the boys are off to college. I guess we’ll restart the entire process with the grandkids someday.

                 Overall, I wouldn’t do anything differently. It’s wonderful to watch our youngest following in his brother’s lacrosse footsteps. Thankfully, it’s a much more relaxed experience the second time around. We finally understand what really matters is that they have fun. Pie holes closed.