Dear Winning Team Parents,
Congratulations! Your 7-year-old boys beat our 7-year-old boys, although "beat" seems like a weak term for what just happened, dontcha think? It's probably more appropriate to say that your team pulverized us. Left us for dead. Wrung us out and hung us up to dry. It was brutal for us to watch, and you probably won't be surprised when I tell you that this kind of thing has happened to our boys before.
You could call our team the Bad News Bears of the local soccer league -- our players are total noobs and they bumble and fumble and stumble their way through each and every game. They're learning new skills every week and giving it their best effort and they're definitely improving -- but that's hard to tell when they play a team like yours, filled with kids who've been playing soccer together for years, practicing twice a week, attending soccer camps and clinics, and receiving hours upon hours of meticulous one-on-one instruction from their personal trainer (otherwise known as Dad).
With that kind of effort, you totally deserve to win -- but there are a few things you could do to make it a little easier on us, The Losers.
Moms, we all love to cheer our kids on, but when you're up by 10 or more goals, perhaps it's time for you to shut the hell up. I'm sure you mean well (on second thought, I'm not so sure about that at all), but when you're sitting next to me shrieking about how amazing little Farkington is after his fifth hat trick, it's all I can do not to fold up my camp chair and shove it in your pie-hole. It's time for some #realtalk, my friend: The fact that your kid can score repeatedly in a rec league against kids who are new to soccer actually does not mean that he's the next Clint Dempsey.
Aw, did I just crush your hopes and dreams? Sorry.
Winning Team Coach (or should I say coaches, since every dad on your team is standing behind you, telling you what to do?), is it really necessary for your little guys to win this game 35 to nothing? I mean, do you get a free personal pan pizza for that or something? Because you sure do seem to enjoy it. I guess the utterly dejected faces of our little boys just add to your pleasure. Glad that decimating 7-year-olds makes your day, dude. I'm sure it'll make for some great memories when you head back to your cubicle on Monday.
Oh, don't get your jerseys in a wad -- I'm just kidding with you. Still, after 14 years spent on the youth soccer sidelines, I can tell you with confidence that I'm just giving you a souped-up version of what all the parents on the losing side are thinking. I've been on your side, too, Winning Team, more times than I can count, and I don't fault you for yelling your heart out when the game is a close one and the teams are evenly matched.
But if you don't know this already, let me clue you in: when you're up by five or more, shouting out how many goals your kid has scored each time he does it gets annoying for the parents on the other team. So does watching the coaches and dads loudly high-five and back slap across the field when the score reaches 20-to-nothing.
Yes, we're all adults and ultimately, we can take it. But what really makes your behavior inexcusable is the fact that your kids now think it's appropriate. I can tell you without hesitation that if my child did a victory dance after scoring the 15th goal against a team that was woefully outmatched, I'd be out on that field in a hot second, leading him off it by the ear. But I got to watch your boys do this over and over again last weekend as you all clapped and shouted encouragement and gave them big indulgent grins.
Seriously, parents? This shit matters.
One year from today, this soccer season will be a distant memory. Five years down the road, no one will remember the final scores, or who made each goal, or even the names of most of the boys on the team.
What will remain with these kids, what will become ingrained within them, is how they played the game. And I don't care what you tell your children about sportsmanship -- if you're not living it yourself from the sidelines, it doesn't mean anything.
That's all. See you next weekend.
A Mom From the Losing Team