In our town, at the ripe old age of 12, you can become a referee for the youth soccer league. Die-hard soccer nut that he is, Youngest took the course, bought the uniform and gear and started working for a living. Depending on the age group, a kid his age can get as much as $25 per game. Not bad. And after he does 10 games, he gets refunded the cost of the course.
It wasn't until his 8th game -- a couple of days ago -- that he ran into a coach who clearly didn't buy into the "Positive Coaching Alliance" bullshit pedaled these days. He took exception when Youngest made a call against the team for a pass back. He got even more annoyed when Youngest let the opposing team play on following some confusion over a goal kick. And then he got most annoyed when Youngest didn't call a hand ball when the coach's team had the advantage.
He didn't get in Youngest's face. No, he took the adult way out and from the sidelines made sarcastic and rude comments about Youngest's refereeing abilities. Quietly? No, loud enough so his players could hear and so Youngest could hear.
Did I mention his team is comprised of 8- and 9-year-old girls? And that it's not competitive soccer but recreational soccer? And that the league makes all its coaches go through some rigmarole called "Positive Coaching Alliance"?
When Youngest came home Saturday after the game and told me about it, I was so pissed. I mean, pissed.
What did I do? Nothing. Because Youngest made a point of just letting the coach's comments roll off his back. He determined, you see, that the coach obviously didn't know the rules of the game. And Youngest took the mature step of just ignoring him.
The weaselly little man didn't have the guts to say something directly to Youngest after the game. Instead, he did what all fine weaselly little people do when they're upset: he wrote the head ref to complain.
To be continued...
[Photo courtesy Universal Pictures]