Parent Exhibiting Bad Behaviour at Junior Sporting Events

BerraBoy68 25 July 2009 34

As I was pacing up and down the sideline while coaching my sons soccer team this morning, I became aware of a women standing beside the field swearing at one of my players. The term she used was “F****** little shit“. Astonished, I asked the women to repeat what she said and in response was asked if I had seen one of my players ‘stomp’ on her son.

I replied I hadn’t but asked her to point out which of my team had done this. When she replied that it was the one in blue, I had to ask her to be more specific as my team were, not surprisingly, all wearing the same colour.

When she pointed out my son I told the women I would deal with him during the next break in play and again after the game. However, I also advised her that the language she was using was unfit to be used around children, especially noting that this game was under 7’s. I also advised if she swore at any of my team again, including my son, I would have her barred from football. As she then told me to *Fukc off* in front of the kids I asked someone to summon a club official and have her removed from the field.

As I had to keep coaching my team, I turned away only to hear this women again carry on with her tirade and me and my son. I was interested, however, to hear this clown say she wasn’t now swearing at my child but at me for not taking any immediate action, even though the incident was now some 5 minutes old, had not been pulled up by the Ref and the game was continuing. While I should have just walked away I told her again that I would deal with my son after the game but if she thought I was going to take him from the field and then smack and humiliate my son in front of her for her personal gratification she had another thing coming. At which point I was called a bad parent, bad coach and told I should have nothing to do with kids, all in front of the parents. It’s amazing how hard it is to struggle with your own emotions when confronted with an idiot like this woman but ended up just telling her that if she thought embarrassing her son by carrying on and swearing at an under 7’s player made her think she was parent of the year, she had better see a counsellor.

In any event, after the game the other teams coach asked me if I had seen the ’stomp’ and I said I didn’t as I had to watch the entire team plus deal with substitutes, however, by that time I had already spoken to my son about it and told their coach I would do so again at home. While she happily accepted this I told her that the behaviour of one of her players parents was appalling and should not be tolerated in kids sports, at which point the coach readily agreed and said that this women regularly overreacts at games.

Incidentally, after the game my son and several parents advised that my son had, in fact, stomped on this women’s sons leg but only after my son had been elbowed in the ribs and pushed over several times by him during the game when the ball was out of play – no excuses for my son but getting two sides to the story were interesting. I was also reminded that when we played against this team earlier in the season this same mother carried on a treat when another one of our players pushed her son in response to her boy kicking our guy’s legs though-out the game, even when the ball wasn’t around.

Interestingly, when speaking to club officials after the game they advised that they heard the woman swearing but they when warned her about her attitude and the consequence that she would be banned, she claimed that the club official and I had both attacked her. So in the face of her accusations she was allowed to stay beside the field and carry on her abuse.

I know many Rioters will regard this as a storm in a teacup, but I honestly thought bad sporting parents had been all but removed from Canberra junior soccer. Should I seek to take this further or just let it go knowing this idiot will continue her abuse at future under 7’s games? Also, does anybody know of any similar incidents at other kids sporting events in the ACT?

BTW: in case anybody say’s name and shame, I won’t name the club involved as they are normally great, but I do feel this woman should have been removed from the field for everybody’s benefit, including that of her own son.

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34 Responses to Parent Exhibiting Bad Behaviour at Junior Sporting Events
Granny Granny 3:37 pm 27 Jul 09

That’s great, Berraboy! Keep us posted about what happens on this one, and have an awesomely good day also you!

: )

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 2:16 pm 27 Jul 09

Thanks Rioters. Good responses.

For info, I’ve now written to the Club President, The club’s Junior Co-ordinator and Under 7’s Co-ordinator asking for the matter to be investigated and appropriate action taken. In particular to tightening the ‘zero tolerance’ policy so poor sporting parents are actually removed following a proven complaint rather than allowed to stay where they are as they’re just too hard to deal with.

astrojax astrojax 12:07 pm 27 Jul 09

just ’cause you’re not paranoid, dtc, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you…

j from the block j from the block 11:28 am 27 Jul 09

Agreed Ant, although in our non confrontational society it is often the case that people greatly prefer to speak in hushed tones rather than act. I normally find a bit of a “steady on eh, it’s just a bit of fun” can work, but it depends on how riled up the mum / dad is, and who is delivering the “steady on” comment.

ant ant 11:12 am 27 Jul 09

What heroes these people must be, screaming profane abuse at little kids, and even teenaged umpires. We as a society should reject this behaviour: it shouldn’t even require official fines or law enforcement officers or whatever. People should take it upon themselves to stand up and make it clear that it’s unacceptable. It’s rather amazing that all those other parents just stood there while this person sprayed foul language and abuse all over the place.

j from the block j from the block 10:56 am 27 Jul 09

You can be passionate supporting on the side line as a parent / relative or friend without resorting to abuse or swearing, although I have on occaision possibly suggested the referee had underwear the colour of the opposing team if I thought there was some bias.
I’ve played (as a kid) and coached kids in union, and while always happy to hear a suggestion, there is a time and a place.

dtc dtc 10:02 am 27 Jul 09

This article in the SMH

contains this interesting comment:

“US research shows many parents feel passing anger as a game unfolds, usually because of referee decisions or mistakes made by their child’s team. But only a certain personality type exploded into sideline rage – the same personality type that was quick to anger when driving … When they perceived something that happened during the game to be personally directed at them or their child, they got angry. That’s consistent with findings on road rage…. They don’t see the umpire as having made a human mistake but as biased. Just as on the road, they don’t see a driver who cuts in front as having made a mistake but as doing it deliberately.”

I wonder what it feels like spending your life constantly believing that people are doing things with the intention of getting at you, rather than you being the unnoticed by-product of their mistakes. It kind of suggests a huge ego (‘everything is about me’).

peterh peterh 9:08 am 27 Jul 09

from memory, back when i was a little tacker, playing for belnorth, we used to get the parent on the sidelines screaming abuse at someone on the field – back then, the players would all talk about it as the game progessed, until we found the poor sod who was the son of the frothing at the mouth lunatic parent on the sidelines. Usually, he was the most embarrassed.

Parents were allowed to launch into swearing tirades until the other parents had had enough. There was justice on the field, for bad behaviour. There was more justice off the field by groups of parents bailing up the offender and giving him a good “talking” to.

It worked. and the foul mouth parents seemed to disappear next time we played.

Pandy Pandy 9:03 am 27 Jul 09

Have a whole lot of bikies turn-up and surround this mother, when she starts hurling abuse. Nothing wrong with it IMHO

crankymum crankymum 7:19 am 27 Jul 09


I wish the dysfunctional cretin had been pulled into line with appropriate official action.

It is such a valuable lesson for everyone, her kid especially. Patient and repetitive (and expensive – let’s introduce on-the-spot fines) behaviour shaping for the socially-impaired…

Now it is a little too late – but if only it had been available for me ex… such an embarrassing, wanna-be-a-soccer-coach dad! My poor daughter used to be humiliated by him.

It was only by sympathetic counselling that she continued to play. No, not ‘slagging him off’ counselling, just reminders that no-one held her responsible for his behaviour, and in fact she gained wide-spread sympathy for having such a socially clueless …person… for a father.

Ozi Ozi 11:42 pm 26 Jul 09

As an amatuer AFL boundary umpire, it is normally the women (from my experience) who become more abusive and verbal at the matches. Nothing like some old crone cackling abuse at you or one of the players to let you know you’re alive… 😀

Granny Granny 9:50 pm 26 Jul 09

Thanks, Special G.

: )

That’s very helpful to know. Of course it would be ideal if the club concerned would deal with it appropriately, or the dispute could be successfully mediated; but it is very important to know one’s rights in these situations.

Ozybob Ozybob 7:17 pm 26 Jul 09

Could i just add that a quick ever so light reminder to the mummy…’here is a teaspoon of premix cement, harden the firetruck up and stopp dissen the little boys and in addition stop swearing’ might have been appropriate….soft boy

farnarkler farnarkler 1:10 pm 26 Jul 09

The next thing will be crowd bans, much like they have in European soccer.

Special G Special G 12:43 pm 26 Jul 09

Someone swearing at you could be considered offensive in which case the charge of offensive behaviour could apply. Should a nuber of parents on the sidelines have considered this ladies behaviour offensive then you could make a complaint. Be prepared to have specifics of the incident, make a statement and go to Court regarding it should you wish to.

Special G Special G 12:33 pm 26 Jul 09

Plenty do this at all levels, boys and girls competitions. Taking junior sport all far too seriously. It can often spoil the experience for the children, their own included.

Let kids be kids.

DawnDrifter DawnDrifter 12:23 pm 26 Jul 09

i think you handled yourself quiet well considering you could have easily stooped to her level and unleashed your own tirade in response
Totally agree with the first comment. that parent is probably just as aggressive and uses colourful language at home and the kid will (and has already inherited) those behaviours

its been in the press a lot lately, i wonder if amongst the touch line umpires they will have to employ another official to keep an eye and ear over the parents??

astrojax astrojax 11:34 am 26 Jul 09

fab pandanus – for every sorry tale there must be many more like yours (one can hope)

sometimes you wish this could translate into social seniors (read: ‘has-beens’) comps and kick-a-bouts; sadly there are a few blokes take themselves too seriously playing, so no wonder they enforce that ethic on their kids…

Skidd Marx Skidd Marx 6:49 am 26 Jul 09

Sounds like your son don’t take no $hit. Good on him. Next time I hope he stomps the mum too.

Pandanus77 Pandanus77 5:51 am 26 Jul 09

One of my kids was playing junior soccer on the weekend, her team is not the greatest, losing more than they win, but the kids have a lot of fun and we have a lot of laugh on the sideline. One of the kids on the other team had more than twice the skill level that any kid on our team had and was playing a blinder, after a few goals our kids finally worked out that they should be marking him and giving him less room to move. It was pretty good to see they worked it out for themselves and just gave him less room to move. His response was to just crack it and he started to play with some aggression, certainly more than our kids skill level warranted. it was about 5 minutes to half time and you could just see his temper rising in the countdown to half time. His coaches solution was to put him in goal for the second half with the apparent full approval of his parents. No tantrums, no swearing, just firm guidance from all concerned and a kid that wasn’t embarassed by his parents or by his coach, he was just rotated into goal to diffuse what may have turned ugly. Full marks to all involved in how to participate in a team sport and moderate on field behaviour.

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