Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Soccer Parenting 101

Dear Donna,

I told this to a parent on my U13 team once, and I don't think she appreciated it. "As the kids grow up," I said, "so will the parents."

That was reinforced in my mind this past weekend. I took my U18s to a tournament and the parental involvement was exactly what a coach would want it to be. The job of the parent, as I see it, is as follows:

1. Get the girls to the field on time
2. Disappear until the game starts
3. Sit, watch and cheer.

And that's exactly what they did. Of course, being the veterans that they are, they threw in a couple of nice extras. They set up the tent for the girls, but didn't linger and distract them. As soon as warmups started, they were gone. They brought coolers full of extra water, ice and cold towels -- which was nice because by halftime, my bottle of water was nearing the boiling point. They brought oranges, grapes and bananas. And they didn't carry the girls' bags for them -- a huge pet peeve of mine.

They were just there.

After the games, they are always ready to do what needs to be done. Get the girls to a cool place, feed them and get them back on time.

Plus, they have always been great to me. They understand the commitment I make to their daughters and go out of their ways to support what I do. I always get "Thank-yous" from them and they send truly heart-felt emails. I told them four years ago that I would take care of and protect their daughters. I proved it, so now they trust me and know they don't have to overstep their boundaries to do it.

Anyway, that's a great bunch of parents. Next week, I'll compare it to the group of parents who haven't grown up yet.

When I think of more, I'll write

You Know Who

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