Friday, September 12, 2008

Since when do elbows figure into morals?

"Push her back! C'mon, get in there!"

The mom in the lawn chair next to me leaned forward, shouting mightily to her daughter on the field. The opposing player had been running hard alongside the girl as she tried to move the ball down the field. Suddenly her arms came up and she gave a swift, almost covert shove. Our player plunged to the ground, while her opponent took off down the field with the ball.

"They need to get more aggressive out there. Our girls aren't being nearly physical enough," the mom growled.

I watched with my stomach in knots as the more experienced team our girls were playing their very first game against continued to dominate, not by fair play, but by foul.

The banter and angry shouts to stoop to their level of play continued from the other parents on our side of the field. Then the referee blew his whistle to call a player on elbowing.

"Finally!" yelled one of the dads.

This was how our first club soccer game went a week and a half ago. And I find myself in the peculiar situation of having to explain to my daughter about playing clean, but also about following the coach's instructions. In talking to the coach, he basically said it came down to morals (following official rules of soccer which don't allow for elbowing) or doing what the ref will let you get away with. I wonder if this coach will sometimes follow the other team's lead in terms of "dirty play". I've told my daughter to not do anything wrong on the field, but to also follow instructions from the coach (and NOT the parents on the sidelines).

Sigh. It was so much easier when it was just at the park district level. I'm also left to wonder, have we done the right thing?

7 musings:

Beth said...

So few people even CARE about morals anymore. It's really sad. Especially when parents are the ones setting the worst examples for their kids...

Llama Momma said...


Hate this stuff.

Emily said...

I was often a big user of elbows, though I usually was feeling crowded by the other player and in my head was defensive and never intentionally went out to break the rules...either way, there are legal things, like hip action, more full body contact with the whole arm, instead of the elbow. Then there is always the sudden stop, pull the ball back, and swing around the running player with it. My mom wanted me to quit soccer after coming to see me play in high school for the first time. She said it was too aggressive and she didn't like to see that in me. Not a helpful comment from me, I know.

A Musing Mom said...

Beth - I think it's the other parents' attitudes that is bothering me the most about this. Some of them are a little too cut-throat for me.

LM - I know. I'm trying to look at it as a chance to be "salt & light".

A Musing Mom said...

Emily - I'm with you on all the legal body uses. That's another part of my frustration -- seeing some folks go so quickly for the bad moves instead of encouraging the girls to learn all the other ways they can be physically aggressive without being nasty. I remember getting totally psyched about playing once I "got it" about engaging in the physical side of the game both defensively and offensively.

So I don't mind seeing my girls learn to be more aggressive on the field...just appropriately so.

everydayMOM said...

I agree that the other parents can get so out of control.

The good side is that your girls are learning that there is more to a sport than just physical ability... it's also mental, attitude, respect for other players, listening to the coach and making their own judgment call if he asks them to do something they might not think is right.

I always played tennis in high school. I was a decent player, but my mental game was horrible! I often defeated myself. Your girls are going to learn some good life lessons, it sounds like. Hopefully, the parents have been better since that game!
=] emily

Craver Vii said...

I hope she didn't come away discouraged from the way they played. Those kids look like they're having so much fun out there, that I might want to buy soccer cleats for myself!