More than a Game

The weather was perfect for soccer this weekend.  The sun was out, the sky was blue and the weather chilly but not cold.

Andrea played two away games this week.  Both games were tough, but in completely different ways.

The first team played well. They knew how to play soccer!  Our girls tried hard, but they did not have the skills the other team had.

Yesterday’s game was completely different. I could not see everything and Andrea filled us in on a few details. Here are the highlights:

  • The other team played dirty. Andrea said they were talking mean through most of the game.
  • The referee did not make a lot of calls and made some very poor ones.
  • One of our team was red carded for something that could have been an accident. The ref was too far to see what happened but the other team’s parents started yelling “she elbowed her!” It felt as if the ref sided with what he heard, not saw.
  • Our goalie caught the ball while on the ground.  Seconds later she was rammed into and her face was kicked. The girl was not penalized (should have been at least a yellow card).  The other team’s coach had to tell his team to stop their inappropriate comments about the hurt goalie.
  • A girl who earned a yellow card was being obviously disrespectful to the referee.  He ignored her contempt and let her continue playing.
  • Parents argued loudly. At least one parent started to loudly disagree with the ref’s decisions. The ref threatened to make parents watch from the cars.
  • When the game ended, the other team made a show of grabbing their belonging and sitting down before walking off the field without the “post game handshake”.

We talked about the game on the way home.  There were so many variables we do not know of.  We are biased for our team.  But, it was a poorly run game. If the ref had been stricter at first, the game might not have gotten out of hand so quickly.  If parents showed maturity and restraint, they would not have started arguments.  As someone said as the other team left the field, they “would not be surprised to see our tires slashed”–it was that heated of a game.

We were proud that Andrea vocally told her team to calm down and play fair at least twice, but we watched as she changed her moves so she would not be carded for something. She tries never to play mean or rough, but she is not afraid to play defense. I do not know if she even realized that she was playing differently.

I do hope that we do not play this team again. I am glad that Andrea could see and learn why being a “good sport” is so important.  As her coach said in the pep talk after the game, the girls “can control their actions, but they can’t control referee’s choices, the other team or how parents react.” Each player’s choices are important and will affect the game.