So the umpiring job only was during the spring/summer time and I needed something to do on weekends during the fall. I had played football my freshman year and right after I was named a captain for the next game, I tore my hamstring and football was done. Something was needed to fill the time.
I always loved soccer and played throughout grade school. St. Louis does have a fairly decent history of soccer and the love of the sport here. The high school I attended won the state title twice while I was there. I wanted to do something like umpiring and something I would not have to commit a lot of time to with still being in school. So I got into the world of CYC soccer referring.
Umpiring was one thing, soccer is a whole other story. Not just the running up and down the sidelines; however, the issues with the parents were a LOT worse and the things they would say. I usually worked with the same other guy on Saturday mornings about 5-10 minutes from where I grew up. The parents would be lined up all along one sideline because of how the field was situated. We would flip Saturdays on who would get the “special” sideline.
For the most part, things would roll off me when they were said. I understood they would be frustrated with their ten year old missing a shot and it only had to be because they were fouled. I was not one to just call the foul or penalty. I wanted to show them and the coaches what they were doing wrong and if they kept doing it, then I would call it.
One fall Saturday I got the “special” sideline. As we were going through the first game, I noticed that the coach was acting as if he was coaching in the World Cup. His team was not very good and continuously got called for offsides. Then, he screamed at me when I did not call it for the other side and they were scored upon. I pulled him aside and explained to him why it was not called. The parents were even getting embarrassed and were yelling at him. He shrugged it off and we moved on to halftime. I was talking to the other referee and I overheard him tell the kids to try and kick the ball “towards” me to see if I could get out of the way. His team was down a few goals at this point and seems as though he had given up on the game. The other referee and I talked and both agreed if this happened, the coach would be kicked out and I would have to report it to the league.
So, about five minutes in, the coaches son was going down the line and kicked it square at me as I was running in the out of bounds area. I caught the ball and stopped the game. I went to the coach and through him out. He exploded. The parents held him back and he told me he would be waiting for me in the parking lot. SERIOUSLY?? I went to the kid and looked at him. He said “I’m sorry sir but I have to listen to what he says.” Simply put: Sad.
My dad was waiting in the parking lot afterwards to pick me up and I was escorted to my car and we left. I am not sure if my dad remembers the event but it seems as though it happened yesterday. I drove by the field a few months back while we were looking at homes. I cringed.
Many who know me, know I am a sports nut. Now that I have a son, I would like to be involved in my son’s sports career, if he chooses to go that route. I pray I am not like that coach. He lost a lot of respect from many that day, possibly his son. That man showed me the father I do NOT want to be. I pray for that man that somehow, God has changed his heart. His son is probably in his mid 20’s now and may have a kid of his own. Weird to look at that situation now through a parent’s eyes.
Next job – Photography??????