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Monday, April 23, 2012



People who volunteer to coach youth sports do not get the credit they deserve.  Most of the stories you read about youth sports coaches involve pedophilia or fanatical nut jobs who care nothing about sportsmanship or the children, they only care about winning.

I have been involved as a coach three times in my life.  I did not volunteer so much as I failed to take two steps backwards as quickly as the other parents at the meetings.  I was coach of two different seven year old soccer recreation teams (about twenty years apart) and a nine year old Little League baseball team.

I would like to use my forum here to blast the real culprits in harming children through youth sports….PARENTS!  

In case you did not hear let me make it clear; annoying busybody do nothing drop the kids off so you can babysit piece of crap freaking parents are the trouble with youth sports.

The worst of the parents are soccer moms (and dads). 

My first experience with coaching was for a soccer team of seven year olds. One soccer mom was unable to drive her daughter to and from practice and games.  I picked up this little girl for all practices and games.  I was never thanked for this…that was fine; I felt sorry for the little girl because of her mom was a little…er….WEIRD! 

All season I was this little girl’s chauffer.  We finished the season, and the next Saturday was the annual soccer picnic.  The girl’s mother came up to me at the picnic furious that I did not pick up her daughter for practice on that Thursday.  I explained to her that since the season was over last Saturday, it would seem silly to hold the usual weekly practice on this past Thursday.

“Well you could have at least told me.  I HAD PLANS!!”

You’re welcome.

Twenty years later I again forgot to step backwards and was coaching another seven year old soccer team.  I did not mind that kids seldom made practice and showed up for games ten minutes late; I did mind that parents of these kids expected the same playing time for their kids as the ones that showed up on time. 

The parents always knew to the minute who played more than their child.

These games were four eight minute quarters.  Each team had ten kids.  You could only field six at a time.  Every kid wanted to play goalie, or forward, or only on defense.  Few of the children were accustomed to not getting what they wanted.  Coaching became almost completely trying to monitor who played where and for how long.  It was VERY important that everything be equal.  Screw teaching the kids how to play the game.

One game I apparently failed to put one little boy in the game an equal amount of time as the rest of the children.  His mom and dad let me know very loud and clear.  I was accused of holding him out and playing better players so we could win the game (We didn’t even keep score so as not to damage the little precious children’s self esteem).

I was attacked in such a way I really had only one of two choices.  Pop the kids obnoxious dad in the chops (I would never hit the mom) or walk away.  I walked away.

The next week I intentionally played this kid an extra quarter and held my own son out.  I did this to make a point.  The dad attacked me again.

“I know what you’re doing, playing my son extra just because I complained.  That’s not fair either.”

I stepped back and told this dad, “Last week I elected to walk away from you inappropriate tantrum instead on knocking you on your ass.  I am beginning to see what a bad decision that was” (well something to that effect.)  My assistant coach stepped between us before I corrected the previous week’s decision and another parent suggested this gentleman back off….quickly. 

I did get an apology from the wife over the phone.  I accepted, but none too graciously.

Too be continued tomorrow- Sam Shapasshole and Little League Baseball.


  1. Wow! What terrible stories. I would have told the first mom that she should make "PLANS" to be a better MOTHER!!! And in the second instance, I'd probably be a viral YouTube sensation (and a felon).

    Of course you did the right things, but I'll bet you chewed a hole in your tongue.

    Taking it a step further, it's my opinion the problem with our schools today isn't with the teachers or the administartors or due to lack of funding. It's parents not doing their job as parents. Step up or shut up, parents!


  2. I'm not a sports person, but when our son was small and on a baseball team I was enlisted as our teams third base coach. My wife was enlisted as first base coach. The first time our team was up at bat, three players ended up on third base and the umpire threw two of them out. Me and the missus were never asked to help out again. I wish this wasn't a true story.

  3. Eeeeek!

    Competitive sports stress me out anyway, but to have to deal with that. *shudders and runs back to her nice, safe, community circus where everyone works together and there is no competition other than to improve yourself*

  4. These parents have no idea how mortified most of their children are when they interfere in this way. Good for you, Cranky, for coaching when you had to put up with s**t like this.

  5. Wow...that mother has some nerve! Seriously. Just wow.

    My husband coaches soccer for our children's teams. Thankfully he has never had any parent like the ones you've described. And he's been doing it for years. So I guess we've been lucky. What he does encounter are bratty kids who are used to getting their way. My husband is a no-nonsence type of guy, so when some kid pops off to him or won't go along with the practice, my husband just sits him out on the sidelines. The kid can kick and scream all he wants, but unless he can cooperate he cannot join practice. My husband always said to me, "I'm not here to babysit." If a parent asks why little Johnnie is sitting out, my husband tells them the truth and so far he's never had a problem with a parent. The kids learn this pretty quick in the first few practices, and at the end of the season he always has a team full of kids who cooperate well. Some parents even thank my husband and tell him that they are impressed with how well their child "minds" when he's at practice.

    Two of my children volunteer to referee our younger children's soccer games. My son Alex is only 12, and he's out there being a ref for my 8 year old daughter's soccer game this season. I am always nervous for him. I know that he knows the game well enough to do the job, but I'm just always worried that some parent will crush his spirit by yelling at him if he makes a call that they do not agree with, or God forbid if he should make a mistake. I'm always at the games that he refs for....just DARING someone to pop off to my kid. I listen to every comment from the sideline (well, I try to. I can't be everywhere at once) and IF someone were to say anything rude or negative to my son, I'd walk up to them and say something like this: "I don't see YOUR butt out there volunteering to ref this game. Why pick on a 12 year old who is doing his best? What, do you want to make him feel awful so that he won't want to ref another game for us? We are always short volunteers and without a center ref we have no game. So just chill out with the negative comments. This is 8 year old soccer, you know, not World Cup."

  6. That's a long-ass comment!
    Sorry. Couldn't resist.
    We've done Little League and soccer. My husband coaches, referees, and umpires and I am a score-keeper and teach the score-keeper clinic. We've had a few issues but nothing this bad! But...point taken. Parents need to learn their place in youth sports!

  7. "Stranger Danger" is a myth - the most dreadful threat to a child's well being comes from within the family circle!

    Whatever you do - don't let Dad go to junior's Little Athletics meet!