Vainglorious Prickweenies: Redux

OKay– wrapping up some business first!

1. I’m going to be interviewed here, and one of the cool things about that is that Wave solicits questions from readers beforehand. I’ll post it when she does, and anyone who wants to put me on the barbie and grill me like a trout will have her day!

2. I finally DID get my birthday date, and it was lovely. I insisted on the cheap theaters because “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was still playing there, and darnit, I didn’t get to see it when it was in the expensive place, and it was totally worth it. Fun, a little bit predictable, but still… pure popcorn-munching, movie-going joy. EXACTLY what I was in the mood for, and, thank you Mate for indulging me.

3. Funny story about that… we had just gotten our tickets and were cutting through the outside line to get to the door, when I saw a little girl, corkscrew hair done in multiple braids, pink blanket clutched to her chest, big, dark eyes looking excited to be out late. “Despicable Me” was playing and I winked at her and said, “That’s a REALLY good movie!” She smiled, and then I smiled at the young man with her, so he would know I wasn’t a crazy woman, off to steal this adorable little kid, and then the young man went… “Wait… I know you… you taught me MacBeth!” And then he was quick to assure me that the little girl was his friend’s kid and not his.

4. Funny story about that… so I gave my ex-student a hug and went inside where Mate was (patiently) waiting, and we stood by the exit of the movie, and waited for the theatre to clear out. The third or fourth couple to exit was my step-mom’s brother and his wife. Uhm… gee! What a coincidence! And it REALLY was. I asked Mate if he had a relative or a coworker waiting for us in the movie theatre as a trifecta, and he said, “Uhm, no. Only you.” And it was true. Only me.

So that was fun, and it’s good to have fun, because the two soccer games–Zoomboy’s and Chicken’s, left me with a REALLY sour taste in my mouth. Chicken’s game was hard to watch– the other team had eight subs, and our team had NONE–it was seriously only a matter of time before we lost, because they were rotating half their team out twice a quarter. And that’s fine– the girls were playing hard, and they were happy to be out there, and we could deal with that. What was PISSING ME OFF was that the girls were playing rough–shitty, bitchy, throwing elbows, throwing clothesline rough. I heard Chicken oolf from across the field as she caught a clothesline to the gut. I watched a little defender do a backflip as she was tripped and elbowed at the same time. Chicken’s coach, who NEVER gets angry, actually shouted– SHOUTED, mind you, “When are you going to start seeing that, dammit!” See, because it wasn’t enough that this team was going to win, they had to beat the fucking shit out of our girls to do it. The parents cheered every hit. The coach encouraged them. And the horrible thing?

That wasn’t even the worst game I saw on Saturday.

Zoomboy’s game was so horrific that I actually wrote a letter and showed it to our coach, and she’s making a copy–one for the president of the other team’s league, and one for the president of ours. Because what happened at Zoomboy’s U8 (Children under eight) soccer game literally made me sick. So, here’s the copy of that letter–and I still can’t believe my kid was in this game:

To the board members of the team we played on Saturday, October 2, 2010:

Dear fellow parents:

This Saturday, our team, The Mighty Raptors, played your team, The ______________, and to put it mildly, we got trounced.
We knew we were getting trounced, we saw it happening, and our children, happy to be there and playing, continued on with a good heart and full effort in spite of the following things:

• The team had three SUPERLATIVE players on it—as in, “should be not one but two divisions up” kind of players. These players were excellent ball handlers—in fact, they were not only good enough to run circles around our players with flourishes and tricky little ball moves, but they were ALLOWED to do this with full knowledge and encouragement from their coach.

• These three players sat out for only five minutes of the second quarter. There were three subs to take their place—to my knowledge, these three subs ONLY played for those five minutes of the second quarter. (This was the only time period when our team held its own.)

• These three players were CONTINUOUSLY on offense. Not once were they pulled back to play defense, even when it became clear that our team was outmatched and outgunned. The players were, as I said, encouraged to show our kids just exactly how much our kids did not measure up to their expectations as competitors. That was nice of them by the way. Their parents were OBVIOUSLY very proud.

• The team’s coach AND parents started calling LOUDLY for a mercy killing to the game. (I’m pretty sure ‘mercy killing’ was their exact word.) They harassed the ref continuously for pretty much the entire fourth quarter. Instead of putting the second string on, or putting key players in less prominent positions, this team made it clear that our kids weren’t worth their time, and they did it loudly, obnoxiously, and with incredible insult. (I admit, as the woman snarling, “Our kids came here to PLAY!” across the field, I was less than gracious about this last part.)

• In response to the call for a “mercy killing”, one of the players “went down” on his face in front of the goal, lying there until someone noticed that he was “playing dead”. At least I think that’s what happened—all I know is that neither the coach nor the parents nor the refs were paying attention to this kid lying face first in front of the goal. In fact, the first person on the field to pay attention to this kid was my son, playing defender. He is, by the way, easily the worst player in the league—but that didn’t keep him from checking on this little boy to make sure he was okay. I don’t know if the opposing team noticed this, but I personally took a tremendous amount of satisfaction knowing that one of the best examples of soccer that day was shown by a kid who very well may never score a goal. Ever.

In short? I was appalled. The odds of a child earning a soccer scholarship or making it to the pros are astronomical. The odds of a child failing a class or growing up to lose a job or flunk out of college because he has not learned the lessons of fair play, respect, or basic humanity are considerably higher, and guess which road the this team was hell-bent on taking?

The truly tragic thing is that this team isn’t just a ‘team’ at these events—it is a representative of its entire community. If I had been a member of your community, in that moment, I would have been mortified.

Congratulations. Your league’s team won. I’m sure you must be very proud.


Amy Lane
Mother the “worst” player on the field.

0 thoughts on “Vainglorious Prickweenies: Redux”

  1. Louiz says:

    good on the film seeing. Bad on the soccer games:(

  2. Sports isn't about having a good time anymore. It's about winning, which is pretty sad.

  3. Chris says:

    Y'know, I'm not having trouble figuring out where bullies come from at the moment. I bet that U8 team generates bunches. 🙁

  4. roxie says:

    Maybe the parents of those kids should be forced to watch all games only on video from seven miles away. With parenting coaches on site to re-train their responses. I'm sorry for their children.

    And I'm happy for you! Sorcerer's Apprentice was great fun!

  5. NeedleTart says:

    No offense, but is there a reason your kids are involved with these sadists? Maybe pick up games in the local park are a better idea. I know you can't change the world by running, but knowing why you're running might be more important than fighting the good fight.

  6. ElaineG says:

    My 7 year old refused to play this year. Partly because the coach was so intent on winning, he didn't play the kids that weren't GOOD! Partly because only one child on the team last year encouraged and tried to teach my son about the game. My son is easily the worst soccer player ever, but he does try, and when the coach only coaches the good players (in Spanish) and the other kids are ignored, it's hard to look at a 7 year old and tell them you HAVE to play, maybe this year will be better 🙁 When the bad attitude and snottiness come from you own team? it's even harder to force a kid to play….so we wait for basketball and hope for a good experience, which we HAD two years ago in soccer and this year in little league, the coach/team/kids/parents/league were all amazing….here's hoping for a chance at that in a new sport.

  7. DecRainK says:

    whatever happened to "Have Fun" when you play sports? Too many people are worried about winning in life, and they forget that life is about the journey and the connections you make along the way.

    I feel so sorry about the fact that Chicken, Zoomboy and everyone else had to deal with those jerkwads.

  8. Galad says:

    Happy for a the fun date. Sad for the soccer games. Things like that were happening when my son was a U8 and he's 27 now. Parents fist fighting on the side,screaming profanities at 16 year old refs – nasty stuff done in the name of winning. Thankfully there were also some great coaches who were fair, committed and made the game fun. Some years were better than others but my son still loves soccer.

    Good letter – hope it gets someone's attention.

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