Wilder's Whole World

By: Dwayne Wilder

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I was embarrassed ……………and ashamed.
 
I had just been called down by a youth coach for my behavior during my son’s game. It wasn’t the first time, but the first in a long time. It seemed more forceful this time……......................
Maybe, the league had put heat on the coaches to control parents…………..I don’t know.
 
I am not one of those parents who get up and confront coaches/officials! Yes, my voice is loud and sometimes, I come across as having a bad attitude, but my concern is always when something UNFAIR has occurred that benefits the other team. I’m not nitpicking referees and I do realize that sometimes people make mistakes. I don’t respond to that!
 
But when I see a pattern or an instance where the rule is only being applied to my son’s team, you better believe that I am saying something! I do so because it goes against everything youth sports are about! As the referee, you are telling the boys (in this case) that it’s okay to cheat and if you are not on the receiving end, well…..too bad! That’s the way of the world! Get used to it!
 
What kind of message is that?! I get upset when the integrity of the game and the reasons why I put my son in youth sports are being crushed by someone in a black and white shirt who has an agenda only known to him/her. AND believe me there are those people officiating all sorts of youth sports here and everywhere else………………….
 
Yet, even with me toning down, here I was getting another speech and admonishment.
 
But it was happening after a game where I had not said much. I did verbally spar with an opposing parent for about 10 seconds, which didn’t escalate to anything worse. Not that I was trying for that; I just wanted to understand and what he was saying didn’t make sense. He was viewing it from his team’s viewpoint and he had this ‘know-it-all’ attitude.
 
I said a couple other things at different times, but nothing loud or even negative. Since the first call down, I have been making an effort to be better. I’m not perfect, but I can see a difference from then to now. And the now is SO much better……there should be no need to tell me again.
 
Yet, there I was being dressed down like an army cadet or a child by a parent. I asked if he could hear me across the field and he said ‘No,’ but someone told him about me. He even asked about that ‘fight’ with the other parent. I said I would do better and he went on to lecture me how to ‘cheer’ for the team. “Don’t be negative and don’t interact with anyone!!!”
 
I felt about two years old………………
 
Sure, I understand that referees are in a tough situation and of course, you can’t have parents fighting – actually hitting each other! – if you are the league responsible for the teams and the games. And I admit I have been loud, brash, and negative in the past. I can take a hint and I understand that it is for the players and my son, so I make the changes in my behavior.
 
But after the ‘talk’ was over, I got angry and didn’t understand why immediately. Then, it dawned on me. I hadn’t done much in the past few games, but all the sudden the coaches – who are across the field – know exactly what I did and said during the current game.
 
I was being spied on!
 
This revelation made me even madder. It was like someone was being a “tattletale” on me……..and I was embarrassed and ashamed when confronted by the authority figure!
 
Yes, I understand that there are rules about parental and fan behavior and yes, there have been times I have been out of line. I have never been thrown out of a game and only once did I say something directly to a referee, which was dealt with and done right then. I realize that my behavior has consequences on my son’s team, so I am trying to be calmer.
 
But to be spied on…………by another parent of a player on that same team!!!
 
Wow! And the more I thought about it, the madder I get. I am not the only one arguing calls and talking back……from that group of parents to my son’s team. There are others and as far as I know, I am the only one being singled out. Now, I know about the ‘bad rep’ concept and when a person gets it, it is hard to change; but this is just wrong……….
 
Of course, I can’t know who is ‘telling’ on me; the coach won’t say…………..but I wish I could ask why me and not others. What if this person just has a grudge against me for a reason I don’t know? And he or she feels this is a good way to get back at me whether I have done anything at all………………………..just something to think about.
 
I don’t appreciate being put in this position especially when I know that I am better than before about taking the advice and rules to heart. If I wasn’t, then I wouldn’t care! I would just keep doing it anyway and getting kicked out of games and hurting the team. But I am doing what’s right and will continue to get better.
 
Whether another parent feels it necessary to spy on me or not……………………..


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