July 11, 2011

The Tournament Team

A few months ago, my boys joined a tournament soccer team.

As my husband and I have quickly learned, soccer tournaments for seven year-olds in central Florida (and other places I imagine) are fun, non-pressure filled events complete with sponsor tents and local media coverage. The minute that we arrived at our first tournament, we realized that we were missing all three items required of all good soccer parents: a 60-quart cooler on wheels, a pop up tent, and t-shirts with our sons' names screen printed across the back.

Our boys would have played better in their first game this weekend, we think, if they had personalized soccer bags and a team bus or van like everyone else.

Oh. My. Gosh. I seriously thought that I had stepped foot into the Twilight Zone.

"Isn't this fun?" asked the boys' coach at around noon. My temper was about as high as the temperature outside.

"Yep," I answered briskly.

On the way to the bathroom, one of the coaches from a team named the Orlando Singlebury's Seafood Shack Green Gorillas (name changed to protect the guilty) ran up to me.

"Please keep this on the down low, but we'd like to invite one of your sons to try out for our team." He said this as if he was issuing an invitation to the Royal Wedding.

I am about as interested in royal weddings as I am root canals.

We I returned to our team's tent, our coach issued a timely warning.

"Watch out for poachers," he told all the parents. "They are crawling around like insects here."

A few minutes later, he checked in with me personally. "You're happy with our team, right? You're not thinking of switching are you?"

I glanced over to the son that was causing all the ruckus. He was spitting watermelon seeds at his teammates.

"I say that we fulfill our commitment, and then we're done," I told my husband. "No more of this."

My husband nodded in agreement but kept quiet.

If you don't have anything nice to say, sometimes it's best not to say anything at all.


Future Mama said...

HAHA! I grew up in Florida watching my younger brother play for one such team. You have described it exactly right :-) If it helps, though, said brother is now a football kicker and got his college paid for because of it!

Much love,
Future Mama

Mike said...

There are plenty of parents who treat children's sports like it was the NFL. Makes me crazy. I'm waiting for the first news report of 7-year old soccer players going on strike for better snacks.

Crunchy Mommy (aka Cindy) said...

We've been to a few go-kart races in GA and those parents are the same way. 'Pageant Parents' were already added to my list of 'gigantic idiots I never want to be like' (ever watched Toddlers & Tiaras? Jaysus!), then I added 'Go-Kart Parents'. Guess now I have to add 'Tournament Soccer Parents' to the list.

The Crunchy (Grouchy) Mommy

Deeds said...

i remember when I was a teen and I would team hop occasionally. if my "home" team wasn't playing a weekend I'd pick up with another team. some of them were the crazy ones with the huge buses, and 600$ tryout fee. My parents let me play for whoever, as long as the fee was waved.
ugh I pulled my poor parents all over several states during the summers. they probably indulged me too much.

Aunt Crazy said...

My daughter plays travel/select/"A" (whatever you want to call it) softball. A dad that was helping coach the team tried to poach her a couple of weeks ago because he was going to start his own team. He and his daughter are no longer part of her team now, LMAO. It's a competitive world in kids sports. She's been talking about playing college softball since she was 6. I'm not athletic, her dad is, but we never put those thoughts in her head. From the first time she ever played, she decided this was her "thing" and that was that. She loves it, so we support it, but sometimes it is pure craziness!

Mom of 12 said...

Those competitive teams are just scary! My girls played rec basketball and I coached the team. Our amazing little point guard was stolen by another team. Years later in high school she actually led our team to the state championship. So maybe your son will grow up to be amazing! He could come to Utah and play for Real (that sounds funny, but that is the name of our professional soccer team).

Sara said...

The boys would probably like the free games on http://bit.ly/coolflashgames

It'd be something to keep them entertained on rainy days. We use the site all the time - whole thing is family friendly set up.

Rachel :D said...

Twilight Zone... Lol

mom24orsinis said...

I'm always a little happy that my kids have almost zero athletic ability or interest...at least not in group sports!! The solitary golf and swimming is more their speed and you never seen tents or fanny packs at those sports :)

Get out fast and never look back :)

Frugal Baby said...

Silence is virtue indeed.

vanilla said...

Kids have fun in adult-organized sports? Yeah, right. Except for the watermelon seeds, of course.

flatmargo said...

My son just had two different soccer teams going after him to play for their league. So many phone calls that it was rather ridiculous. He's 8. Yes, he is an excellent player. But he's 8. Get a grip people!

Ali and Ty said...

i gotta defend kids competitive sports here....i grew up a competitive figure skater and as hard and sometimes ridiculous as it was it was so worth it. i learned so much more from it than how to skate. now i get to make a living coaching doing what it is that i love. i know it can be ridiculous but its so worth it for what it teaches kids. plus it keeps em out of trouble

Jenn said...

I'm all for team sports for kids. Just parents have to remember they are just kids and its supposed to be FUN for them.
My son has been lucky so far that he has had amazing coaches and I have been lucky to sit with amazing parents in the stands that encourage every player on the field and not just their own.
Don't give up on team sports just shop around for an environment that is right for your children.

Anonymous said...

Similar experience when we moved to NC. I signed my 10 yr old daughter up for cheerleading. The peewee football team she was cheering for had full uniforms, their coaches had full uniforms, they ran onto the field through a balloon tunnel...it goes on and on. A little much for us. We didn't sign up the next year.

Nicole Dobbins said...

eesh. We've been thinking about signing up our 4 year old for soccer this fall to make some friends, since we just moved here and don't know anyone--but I don't want THOSE kinds of friends. I can only hope it's not as insane for preschoolers.

Mia said...

It is very political and cut-throat on the travel softball tournament road as well. Somehow they have managed to lose idea of fun with it all. But, if the kids wants a scholarship to a decent college (which she does) we have to play the parent game and grind our teeth on the sideline.

Robin Fisher said...

HA! I loved the post! I am looking for a sports team with a focus on fun and sportsmanship. In Texas, parents actually have to attend a 3 hour parent class on parent sportsmanship. ANYWHO, one parent actually said to me, "Oh, but this will help them get scholarships." SCHOLARSHIPS?!!? Yeah, I am just hoping he learns his times tables this summer.

Anonymous said...

I've had recruiters trying to get me to sign my 8 year old daughter up for their premiere soccer leagues for about 2 years now. As much as I would like her to learn, I'm not going to do it until she is much older. For one, the registration fee is, on average, $1000. This does not include uniforms, tournaments, etc. For two, I know a lot of these parents, I even have some friends who are these parents and they would drive me crazy. They all act like their kids are playing for MLS. I'm sorry, but I also know kids who were great at soccer and didn't make high school teams because they couldn't do sprints fast enough. And thats where college recruiters look, is high schools. Seems silly to me to spend all that money and have your child fall short over something as tedious as sprints. I've seen parents practically run other parents off the teams because they didn't think certain kids were good enough. It may be great for kids, but parents ruin it time after time.

chubs said...

This is how it is in the rec leagues in Utah (Utah County). My 7yr old son did football last year, and everything you mentioned was the same for us. The huge coolers, shade tents, customized t shirts. We also had one parent loudly play hard rock music constantly at every game, to "pump up the boys." And all the little sisters of the players would wear matching cheerleader uniforms. And all the other moms of the players on my son's team would watch EVERY practice. And don't even get me started on the three hour daily practices and games . . . Ridiculous. No more football for him! Or us!