Have you ever been at a high school or youth sporting event when the constant banter of parents berating the officials gets in the way?
Well, that is exactly what happened at North Middlesex Thursday night when it hosted a boys and girls soccer doubleheader with Algonquin.
Let me be clear. It was not the North Middlesex parents who were the issue. It was a select group of Algonquin parents who refused to lay off the officials.
It wasn't the standard boos. That I could deal with. It was the unending hollering and screaming of belittling remarks at older men who are officiating a high school soccer game.
It was evident that these parents were upset that North Middlesex senior goalkeeper Julia Murray was having a game for the ages. Any shot that the Lady Tomahawks took was gobbled up by the senior captain.
So the parents resorted to trying to "work" the officials.
Leave that to the coaches. Like the safety announcements over the loudspeaker when you board an aircraft, the MIAA sportsmanship statement read before every match goes ignored.
It says "Let the coaches coach, let the players play and let the officials officiate."
It's pretty simple, it should be followed.
Even after a North Middlesex athletic facility worker asked the parents to knock off their remarks, they continued. While it's natural to stand up if you believe your team is being wronged, parents need to understand it is just a game.
Support your son or daughter and their teammates in a positive manner. I can say without much doubt, that the children of those parents who scream and holler obnoxiously at sporting events and "coach," do not appreciate it.
It's also a teaching moment. Is that behavior the example they want their kids to follow?
When I played, I had friends tell me in the huddle that they wished their father would tone it down a notch. Because, let's face it, it's embarrassing.
On Thursday, I was at Groton-Dunstable's soccer doubleheader at Hudson. Hudson is notorious for its rowdy student section, but on Thursday, even they took it to the edge.
A Groton-Dunstable player went down with a serious gash to his head, and they began to boo and taunt the injured Crusaders' forward. The site administrator went over to the student section and instructed them to have some decency. His request was ignored.
Later in the match, they continued their disrespect after another apparent injury. He went over again and told them that they would be ejected. The taunts continued, no ejection came, and the match went on.
It has seriously become an issue, not only at the high school level, but at the lower levels of youth sports as well. Parents often push their kids too far. Sometimes it's best to take a step back and think what it would be like if you were in your child's shoes. Growing up, I never had to experience it with my parents. They knew how I was.
I never wanted them to attend my games. Not because they would be obnoxious, but because I knew they had no clue what was going on. My mom went to one football game in my four years of high school, and that was on senior day. Growing up, I played baseball in Marlborough.
What did my parents do? They dropped me off at the ballpark and went shopping. They came back for the last couple of innings and asked 'how I did?' To me, that was completely fine. The only sport I liked my dad to be at was wrestling. He understood and loved the sport. He was very proud that I was competing in a sport he understood.
No, he did not go over the top with "sideline coaching" or hollering at the referee. He sat up in those old wooden bleachers, inside the Nashoba lower gymnasium, and cheered for me and each of my teammates.
Isn't that how it should be? I think so.