I had a bad experience this past weekend at U11 soccer, it was a 1-1 game late and the other team attempts a header in front of my kid’s team’s goal. Header misses but the kid goes down, he’s on the turf. To my untrained eye I didn’t see a foul, but once the ref checks on the kid and gets him off the field he signals a foul which then means a penalty kick attempt. The parents are going bananas. Why didn’t you blow the whistle! There was no foul! I’m looking at these people thinking for chrissakes an 11 year old kid is lying on the ground can he take a minute to check on him and make sure he’s OK. And like basketball this shit happens fast and yes sometimes you see a guy/kid on the ground and deduce that a foul was committed. Late whistles happen, doesn’t mean calls are wrong. He’s human. Ensuing PK happens, and the keeper makes a nice save. Parents are then screaming at the referee again, “In Your Face!” like they’re in 4th grade. About 20 seconds later ball goes out of bounds ref signals it’s the other team’s ball. Again with the going ballistic. Ref says hey this is arbitrary stuff calling what I see, then asks one of the parents to leave, which he does thankfully. Game ends about a minute later and another parent starts yelling at the ref “did that make you feel good?” and I don’t talk much to this guy and I said leave the guy alone, he’s doing his best. We’re supposed to be enjoying the games for our kids and wanting them to win for themselves, not us, and this is outright embarrassing. The kids were a hell of a lot more resilient than the parents, they kept playing. What kind of an example are you setting, this is peanuts compared to the shit they’ll face in the future. Jobs or promotions they think they deserve that they won’t get, thinking some girl they’re going to ask out will say yes and they say no. You want them to act like a fucking baby and make fools of themselves and blame everyone else but themselves, or do you want them to realize life doesn’t work out the way you think it should and instead of standing still complaining they move on to become better people or find better opportunities? We were thinking of leaving this club anyhow, now it’s a done deal in my mind. And I know they all suck, I can only take about 3 years of any group of parents until I need at least a new set of suck.
Side note: this ref was I’m guessing in his 60s. He’s got no dog in the fight, and is doing this because he loves soccer and he wants to be a part of it. The 25 or 50 bucks a game he’s making isn’t the motivator. Why treat him like that? And you’re a special kind of asshole when you rip on the 14 or 15 year old refs doing his or her best. They’re learning on the job as well, and this ain’t the World fucking Cup.
Anyway, that combined with remembering Bill’s comments on officials makes all of this pregame consternation and complaining about referee assignments the pits. Enjoy the god damn games, the team you root for will get some calls, and so will the other team.