What is the matter with you AYSO? Let me explain.
Blessfully, soccer season is OVER. It was a struggle this year. I made a mistake. Vivien is young for her age group ( September bday) and she is not the most ambitious player and she had no school friends in our league. So, I moved her to a different league, a younger group. My thought was she would have less pressure.
"Kids, listen up, when the parents start yelling, kick the ball right at them."
We went from a coach who played tag as warm up to one with a whistle. We went from a team where she knew a couple of the girls for years, albeit not from her school, to a team where she knew some girls from her school, but they didn’t connect to about 3/4 of the way through the season. We went from a small group where all the parents had at least facial recognition to a very large group and I’m still not sure the names of the girls let alone the parents. Mind you I give a lot of love and respect to those who volunteer to coach, it’s a big time commitment and their heart is in the right place. But, some veer a bit farther from what I expect .
I was the assistant coach the last couple of years, but since I bring people skills, not ball skills I bowed out. Let someone who really knows the game take the lead. Mistake. Sometimes it’s better to ask girls what their favorite ice cream flavor is. Does it make them great players? No, our old team resembled the Bad News Bears in our success ratio, but like the Bad News Bears, Everyone played.
Which brings me to my indictment of AYSO. Yes, it’s all volunteer and hard to run an organization like that, but there needs to be stronger controls to combat human nature. Because adults screaming and yelling at tiny little girls on a Saturday morning is really disagreeable. The say this on their site: 3. You’re Enthusiastic and Supportive
Your AYSO kids set their own goals and play the game for themselves. Because you don’t impose your own standards and goals on your child, him/her doesn’t have the heavy burden of having to win games to feel good about themselves. Did you know surveys reveal that 72 percent of children would rather play for a losing team than ride the bench for a winner? Your enthusiasm and support definitely does not go unnoticed.
But, some of these parents can’t help themselves.
One day our opposing team had a mom and dad coach team who I nicknamed, “Mr and Mrs Great Santini”.
The ref should have red carded for their obnoxious shouts. ”ah, c’mon Susie ( name changed to protect the innocent) you can do better than that.” Constant haranguing. Not of the “Go Apple Rockets!” variety. One of our parent/coaches and I ( guest co coach for the day) exchanged horrified looks of the ”Shut up, they are 7 years old” variety. At one point their kid got hurt, was crying. I counted to three before the put downs of her perceived kicked in. Another dad who looked like pre father hood he was probably doing blow in a club on Sunset strip was equally charged screaming at his daughter. In 1992 at the Roxy did he really think this was a good use of his energy?
Vivien has to be cajoled to go to soccer this year. She missed her old coach, her old team. Never a jock, my switcharoo was partly at fault for her lack of drive. So I made it clear to her that this behavior was wrong. I asked the ref if she could eject them. She declined. I would understand it if the college scholarship was on the line, but
1) they are LITTLE kids
2) most, like my daughter are not natural born athletes, look some of them are even hopeless as players, but I thought the point of AYSO is to have fun. Get out, move your body in the open air.
3) Shut up you big loud mouths. Who wants to hear you scream at someone who comes up to your thigh?
A few more weeks of me stating, “Let’s finish what we start.” As I walked her into the park promising a cookie afterward. She had some good games, fun practices, but she was ready for it to be over, as was I.
My straw was broke on the second to the last game. While her parent / coaches of that game were individually nice to the girls I didn’t like what they yelled from the sidelines.
“We’ve got to win it!” No, we don’t. We aren’t even suppose to keep score. One little girl heard my grumbling and said, “He means win the ball.” “Fuzzy distinction” I retorted. Both of the adults in charge yelled repeatedly, “If you don’t hustle we are going to pull you.” Keep in mind Viv was placed on a team where she was the oldest so there were 6 and 7 year olds on this team. They were not played equally as they are suppose to be. It’s one of the reasons our old team didn’t “win”. We could have played our 2 ringers the whole game, but we kept swapping them out for those who might have been the bench warmers.
I decided we would pull ourselves. I didn’t say anything. I just knew it was time to move on. As we walked away, Vivien’s hands full of her post game snack.
“That’s it Vivien we are done.” She brightened. ”Really?”
“Yes, you did a good job, you finished what you started, you really improved your skill set, you made a big effort. I’m proud of you. But, this is not our place.”