It finally happened. Army of Dad had taken all he could stand this morning of the 5-year-olds not listening. So, he hands me the clipboard, the pen and the charge of this team of rowdy hooligans.
I coached. I cajoled. I suggested. I instructed.
Finally, the ref blows the whistle for halftime and I call the crowd over.
"Everyone get your snack and your drink and come here NOW. Sit down. Put a bubble in your mouth, your eyes on me and listen with your ears. You guys have got to listen to me and Coach when you're on the field. We are trying to help you guys know what to do, where to go and how to do it. You have got to listen to me."
Some vigorous, some not so vigorous and at least one half-hearted head nod come from the group of six boys.
After instructing them on which way we're kicking the ball at the switch, we send them back out there and not only are they listening, but they're executing the instructions (most of the time) and doing well. We came from behind and we actually won.
But, I did a bad thing. The other team was elbowing and pushing and tripping throughout the game. If you know soccer and little boys (big boys, too, for that matter) they will get worse and dirtier the more you let them get away with it. I know the little boys on the other team and they're good kids, but if you let them get away with it, they're going to keep doing it. So, I've been "instructing" from the sidelines to both teams NOT to push. Finally, it gets bad enough that the kid on the other team who has been the worst offender finally just shoves our kid down as he is scoring a goal.
That was it. The gloves were off.
I yell at the referree: "Miss Ref. Miss REF. MISS REF!!!"
So, I did the big no-no. I step on to the field and start to approach her continuing to call to her. I take about three steps and stop. I knew I had crossed the line. But, it didn't stop me from contining my tirade:
"Miss Referree! HOW MANY TIMES ARE YOU GOING TO LET THEM PUSH, TRIP AND KNOCK OUR KIDS DOWN? YOU HAVE GOT TO CALL THOSE. IT IS NOT SAFE."
She turns to look at me and yells something about she has control of the game, she is certified and that I need to calm down. She also threatened to abandon the game, which is a ref's right to do so if they feel threatened or whatever. I recall saying something like "THAT'S FINE, AT LEAST THE KIDS WILL BE SAFE."
I'm not sure what I said after that. Army of Dad can probably fill in the blanks. I didn't curse or even tartar sauce her. But, my eye is twitching as I type this. My voice is gravelly now and I have tension knotted up in the back right side of my neck. I don't care if we win or lose at this level. I REALLY DON'T. What I care about is the safety of MY kids. I consider each of those six children as MINE when they're on the field and I don't want them to get hurt.
I apologized to my team after the game. I told them I should never lose my temper with the referee, but that I was angry and concerned about them getting hurt and I wanted her to know that. The kids didn't seem phased by me blowing my stack and seemed utterly clueless about my apology. But, they did listen and they did respond to a little reprimand at half time and for that I was pleased.
We told the kids about the next game and the next practice. We play on Monday. I could tell one kid wasn't listening, so I asked him what time to be at the field on what day.
Not even close buddy. *shaking my head*