The Things We Hear

Discussion in 'Referee' started by briansnat, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. refontherun

    refontherun Member

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    I was center on a U12 Developmental Academy game. It was a very hot day, and many of the parents had gathered in the only available shade near one end of the field. There was a goal/no goal decision at the opposite end. My AR was in position and didn't indicate a goal, so play continued. About a minute later there was a throw-in at the end near where most of the parents were. A woman pipes up, "Come on Ref, you know that was a goal".o_O


  2. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

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    That really would be a treat to read. I think there's a small element of perceived anonymity to it - I'm safe here in the "crowd," the target (the ref) doesn't know it's me who's saying this stuff, could be anybody - not necessarily, of course, but I suspect that's at least a part of the psychology.

    Kind of like the amazing things people will say on the internet, behind the veil of anonymity, or do in traffic in their cars, again behind a screen of perceived, even if not true, anonymity. Certainly nothing they would say or do if they thought their mothers were listening or watching!

    Many times I've wished I could ring someone up in their car and say "I'm the guy in the car behind you that you just cut off and then flipped off. No big deal, just curious - are you an a**hole in all aspects of your life, or is it just something that happens to you when you get behind the wheel of a car?"
    dadman, cleansheetbsc and soccerking1990 repped this.
  3. La Rikardo

    La Rikardo Member+

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    That's a really interesting thing to think about. Around here it seems to based more on the political and religious leanings of where a club is from. When I think of parental behavior extremes, two clubs come to mind. One club, from a suburban area where my dad lives and I have several friends, has notoriously bad parents. This area is known for being fairly wealthy, very religious, and very conservative. The other club that comes to mind has very good parents. I hear them discuss the referees when I'm AR2, and it's not always positive, but it's never abusive, and it's very rarely loud. This club has a reputation for being a pretty expensive one, and they come from one of the more secular, liberal areas of my conservative state.

    You've just added a whole new paradigm of thought for me when I'm dealing with lousy parents.
  4. La Rikardo

    La Rikardo Member+

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    Next time I'm AR and some idiot tells me I was wrong on a call where he was in no position to have an opinion and I was in great position to make the call, I desperately just want to sit down next to him and say "Whoa! You're right! I can see everything from here! You, sir, have just revolutionized soccer refereeing. And to think we were running up and down the line all these years!"
    nsa, mfoam99, HoustonRef and 2 others repped this.


  5. Law5

    Law5 Member+

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    There's no crying in soccer!!!!!
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  6. SimpleGame6

    SimpleGame6 Member

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    I know a national who has a few stories about doing that. Mostly to coaches where they protest a call or no-call in the box. He's run up next to them not saying anything looking towards the penalty area and would turn to them and say, "just what I thought coach, you can't see sh** from here!."

    When you get to be an older National, you can basically do what you want.
    dadman repped this.
  7. Law5

    Law5 Member+

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    Quod licet Joves, quod non licet boves. That's a classical way of saying "rank has its privileges."

    We had a State Referee who decided, as an AR, to sit in a lawn chair at the halfway line, in a silly attempt to show up the parents like this. He got a reprimand from the Professionalism Committee afte the referee filed a complaint about his behavior and attitude.
  8. NCFire

    NCFire Member

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    I (a sociologist, but not that kind) have noticed a few archetypes that appear repeatedly. I don't think they correlate directly with socio-economic status, politics, etc. In each team (and here this differs more within clubs than across clubs), there is a parent culture, often driven by the coach's behavior/rules/attitude, that sets the standard for acceptable/non-acceptable. Often (but not always!) around here, the higher the level of the team, the quieter the parents. My pet theory is that parents of elite players are already focused on the next level and appreciate that the result in random u16 league match, and especially throw-in at midfield in that match, aren't going to keep #10 from getting his full-ride.

    The one thing teams with well-behaved parents have in common is internal policing, someone(s) in the group making it clear when the line has been reached or crossed. Sometimes, the parents (or a parent) do this, sometime it is explicitly the coach. One of my favorite coaches in the area is known to bellow out across the field "Shut up, let them (refs and his players) do their work!" Occasionally he'll leave the bench in the game to go AC a parent. He'll let you know, quietly and respectfully, when he disagrees but doesn't make a big show or production of it.

    I think most of us can pick out the problem parents before kick-off and stopped being surprised by them long ago. My favorite archetypes include:

    Backwards hat dad: A middle-aged man in a backwards hat is ALWAYS bad news for the crew. It is backward to show his intensity. Sometimes, he forgets his hat and on those occasions can be identified by the fact that, for some reason, he's wearing cleats. Will sometimes start yelling during warm-ups "Practice like you play." Often uses the imperative tone "You better..." Responds to uncalled "foul" by encouraging revenge, sometimes veiled, sometimes not. Generally tries to win the game with his own intensity level.

    Angry dad (actually my wife's creation): He's had a tough week at work. No one at home listens to him. He starts out calm, often even sitting down. He's not wearing athletic attire. But it is a thin facade over a mass of seething anger and resentment. The world is not fair and powerful forces are allied against him. One call he disagrees with and the CR is part of that shadowy cabal (what benefit does he think we would get for throwing the game to the other team?). Most likely to yell "Call it both ways, ref" on the first foul of the match. After that, everything is confirmation of the grand conspiracy. Even when his kid's team gets the call, "Its about time!" or "Oh, so now you see it, we'll see if it lasts". Very often accuses the other team of being violent thugs, bent on hurting his kid "Play the game". Most likely to start a fight with opposing parents, you know, for the kids.

    Frustrated mom: Spent the last 3 hours in a minivan with 5 teenagers. I get where she's coming from. On a knife edge, interrupts complaining about her kid's teacher to yell at the ref. Marginally connected to the game. Most likely to yell at players on opposing team (because she's a Mom, she gets to tell everyone what to do). Often goes to "Someone's going to get hurt" or "You've got to protect the players" very early on.

    Queen: Well, I'm guessing this mom must been a queen because her kid is the prince/princess. The prince MUST. NOT. BE. TOUCHED. or called offside. Full of tactical instruction ("SHOOT!"), most often involving passing the ball to her kid who is a golden god. I'll spend the game hoping there isn't a trifling trip or tangled feet. She never forgets. She may well mention a shoulder charge in the 5th minute to you in the parking lot.

    Newspaper parent: I'm not sure why, but I'm pretty sure I've never been yelled at by the parent who passes warm-ups relaxing in a chair, reading the newspaper (or increasingly, the Ipad). Rarely gets up during the game, sometimes doesn't put the newspaper down. Isn't exactly bothered to be there, wouldn't mind being somewhere else.

    People with 8 kids: Corral them intently and keep them out from under the feet of AR2 for the first quarter hour, then all bets are off. Hey, give them a ball to kick around in the 6 yard space between fields. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

    Cameraman: $15k worth of equipment to shoot a u10 match. Uses the flash, at night, shooting 50 yards across the field with a telephoto lens. Seems really confused why that is 1) stupid and 2) needs to be stopped. Also can't believe the CR threatens his ART by removing him from behind the goal, then from behind the other goal, then from his kid's team's technical area. Thinks AR has affirmative responsibility to avoid damaging his camera.
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  9. SimpleGame6

    SimpleGame6 Member

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    Wait...the same referee filed a complaint about himself? Or did I misread that?
  10. SimpleGame6

    SimpleGame6 Member

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    NCFire I want more examples...mostly I want to read more of what you write please.
  11. La Rikardo

    La Rikardo Member+

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    NCFire's post wins the thread.
  12. Errol V

    Errol V Member

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    I nominate one that my kids and I call The Angry Bird. I don't know her history or her motivation, but this is the woman who sits next to her quiet husband, a saint in his own right for putting up with the embarrasement, and screams out non-stop "encouragement" to her team in a voice that sounds like a screeching jungle bird in crow in a treetop. She tends to cheer wildly for anything she considers a great soccer play, such as any long ball booted out of the back end, whether or not it passes well over the heads of the team and over the goal line, untouched.

    Toward the referee her comments are usually limited to "come on!" whenever she deems that something should have been whistled but wasn't. She hears the more specific criticisms of the other parents, and is slowly gaining confidence in using those gems as her knowledge of the myths of the game increases. In a year or two she will be screaming "that's a yellow card!"
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  13. code1390

    code1390 Member

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    Might be the post of the year for the forum.
  14. Law5

    Law5 Member+

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    No, the referee filed a complaint about his AR, the guy who decided to sit in the lawn chair. And rightly so.
  15. Law5

    Law5 Member+

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    A similar type spectator: A mom, very positive (nothing directed at the referee), very, very loud for the entire game and, therefore, very annoying. My family calls them "Robin's mom," after a former teammate with such a mom. We knew another one from my younger daughter's middle school teams whose husband would sit across the gym from her. She was too loud for him.

    Another parent spectator type: The one who has to be sure to come talk to you before the game, to warn you about that dirty player(s) on the other team. I've actually had a game or two where both teams had such a parent come warn me before the game and then the two of them get arguing with each other, while I go do something important, like checking the corner flags for commercial advertising or something.
    dadman repped this.
  16. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

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    I am forever grateful to those parents who are telling their kids to watch the "offsides". Makes the call that much easier by drawing everyone's attention to it.
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  17. soccerking1990

    soccerking1990 Member

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    The first time I worked with a certain referee was a Presidents Cup match last year. Parent on the sideline behind me starts yelling, so the referee comes over. He takes his badge off and offers it with his whistle to the guy. Zero complaints after that.

    I've also noticed during development academy games that the U18 parents seem calmer than the U16 mothers and fathers. The coaches tend to yell at parents on the other side when they start gripping.
  18. MrPerfectNot

    MrPerfectNot Member

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    I do think there is an age factor as well - For strong competitive levels, I think the worst (as in loudest and most obnoxious) parents tend to be for the U11's and U15/16's.
    - For the U11's, it's often their first exposure to real competitive soccer, with faster play and a higher level of referee allowance of contact, advantage, etc. They don't understand the LOTG and haven't adjusted to the fact that U11 top level competitive is very different than U10 Rec ball.
    - For the 15/16's, it seems that parents are really thinking "scholarship!" for their kids and are overly-sensitive to anything that might not support their child getting a full ride to the school of their choice (or that won't be a flattering highlight of their child on video, i.e. getting a card for a very late tackle). By the time the kids are 18, things have tended to settled down.

    Anybody seen anything similar?
    dadman repped this.
  19. soccerking1990

    soccerking1990 Member

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    I know the bigger clubs in my area are having pre-select (not rec, but not really a competitive team) at U9 (with offside). This allows for an easier transition into the U11s where they start keeping record of wins and losses in our classic league. I agree with your assessment of the U15/16 age group. This is usually when competitive teams begin showcase tournaments, and parents start getting rowdy about getting their child into a college program. The U17 parents can be pretty bad because they believe they have been around long enough to understand the game and the LOTG. U19 parents usually have kids either already committed or who don't plan on playing ball in college, so they don't care as much.
  20. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

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    I agree totally with MrPerfectNot on the ageism.

    I wish there was someone somewhere who could explain to the parents that the idea of a full/partial ride to a great university is like playing the lottery. Only a handful of scholarships and then you divide that by 4 years and then by position.

    When I do high level youth matches, I always have that in the back of my mind someplace. these parents are wishing and hoping, and they probably would have been better served putting the money they spent on soccer in a money market!
    dadman repped this.
  21. Scrabbleship

    Scrabbleship Member

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    I may actually consider doing this at some stage in the not-too-distant future.
  22. Errol V

    Errol V Member

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    I just got back from taking my son to tryouts. Our DOC gives a presentation on exactly this.
  23. Errol V

    Errol V Member

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    LMAO.
  24. RichM

    RichM Member

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    And it makes it even funnier if you call it and they still argue it wasn't offside.
  25. briansnat

    briansnat Member

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    One that I hear probably most frequently is "Don't let him/her push you!". It is almost without exception a female who says it. I've often wondered what is meat by it. Is it their way of saying "Hey ref where is the foul call?" without actually calling the referee's judgment into question? Or are they encouraging their player to retaliate?
    cleansheetbsc repped this.

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