What would you do? Sport Parent edition

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portland sport psychology what would you do

Most of us have seen the ABC show What Would You Do?  For those who haven’t, it’s a hidden camera show where actors act out pretty inappropriate conversations and actions in public.  Then the show captures the reactions of normal everyday people to see how they handle these super uncomfortable situations.  Host John Quinones then comes out of hiding to interview the unsuspecting citizens.

Sometimes, as a soccer parent, I’m left wondering where the cameras are hidden because I can’t believe I am watching adults act the way they are acting.  Of course, most of the games go on as they should – with supportive parents and family members cheering on their sons and daughters as they compete.  But there are others where the parents berate 14 year old referees, 10 year old players from the opposing team, and each other.  Those times when things just get way out of hand.

As a sports parent, most of us behave ourselves.  Maybe occasionally we’ll let a “come on ref!” slip out, but for the most part we keep it together, keep it respectful, and display positive sportsmanship.  But do we stand up when the bad apples act up?  Have we ever left a game thinking “I really should have said or done something!” when another parent got out of control?  It can be a really tricky situation, talking to a stranger, or even someone we know, about their behavior.  It can be uncomfortable!

So my question is, What would you do?   Here are a couple situations I’ve witnessed or heard about.  I’m sure you have witnessed or heard about stories like this to.   Did you have success with it?  Share your “what would you do” moment to help other parents who find themselves in the same situation, but are unsure what to do.

Situation 1
A group of parents from another team in the league, waiting for their kids’ game to start, sits a few yards behind you.  From that moment until the end of the game, you feel like you are in a middle school cafeteria with all the gossiping and trash talking.  This group of parents does on and on: “that is the dirtiest team in the league” “they are always diving” “oh look the ref is favoring them like always”  “their parents are awful” “they never shut up.”   They are talking about your kid’s team, not knowing you are affiliated with them.

What would you do?

Situation 2
Your kids are warming up and in the game before theirs, between two U-10 teams, a questionable offside is not called and a goal is scored. A parent from the team who got the bad end of the call goes completely ballistic at the referee, who appears to be about 13 years old.

What would you do?

Situation 3
A parent from your own child’s team gets down on his own kid, constantly berating him to work harder, constantly coaching her from the sidelines.

What would you do?

Most sports parents have encountered these scenarios. Sometime we act, but mostly we don’t.  Share your past experience on how you handled your situation, to give other parents and idea on what to do.  Because, odds are good that it will happen again, and you don’t want to regret that you did nothing.


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