Perusing Yahoo! this morning, a headline for a sports-related column caught my eye.
Written by Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports, “Youth soccer league calls for parents to be silent … and that’s a good thing” tells of the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association’s call for parents to observe a “Silent September.” Translation: Soccer moms and dads may not yell, cheer or berate referees at games in the upcoming season. Parents need to sign a form recognizing the code of conduct, remain on the field opposite their child’s bench and risk dismissal from a game after two warnings.
An interesting policy. It brings back memories of Catholic youth basketball cheerleading and coaching. The cat calls and banging on the bleachers by the opposing team’s cheerleaders during foul shots. A yell of “kick his (butt)” from a parent on the opposing team. While the latter was definitely inappropriate and uncalled for — especially at a CYO game — the foul shot follies were par for the course. Over the years, I learned they subsided per direction from organization officials. If they continue, I’m not sure. I haven’t ventured to youth basketball games in years.
Back to the silence-related column. The writer asks readers to put themselves in the referees’ shoes. Trying to call a game fairly with constant badgering from parents in the stands — especially the ones who like to play armchair quarterback or game expert. The writer also points out how the criticism of officiating comes from the bench as well, how younger refs leave officiating sooner rather than later and how one ref required a police escort after calling a penalty kick in a teen soccer game.
What are your thoughts, parents? Would silence at a soccer game, or any youth game, make it go better? Would the policy benefit the players, coaches and referees? Or is crowd participation just a part of the game so long as it remains free of threats and vulgarity? Share your thoughts in the comment section of the blog below, and thank you for reading.