MAMA BEAR AT THE SOCCER FIELD

So, I’ve heard about over-the-top parents at kid’s sporting events. And I don’t mean the mamas clapping and shouting loudly for their baby out there on the field. I get that. I AM that! I’m talkin’ about the mean stuff. I got my first taste of that over the weekend.

My daughter plays soccer year-round. And (mom brag) - she’s pretty darn good! I always beam with pride when I watch her play because an athlete I was NOT. My dad decided when I was in 7th grade that I should really join the softball team. Well, those girls had been playing since birth and I had zero skills. Let’s just say there may or may not have been cheers and high-fives amongst my teammates when I sprained my arm and had to peace out. Yeah. Not my jam.

But, Jules! She is little but fierce. She puts her heart and soul into every game and I love to watch her competitive spirit! But, while she has that ‘want to win’ attitude - she also wants to play fair and believes in kindness to not only her teammates, but the other team as well. I remember how excited she was when an opposing team member complimented her on her foot work during a game a few weeks ago. She felt proud and sincerely appreciated the sweet remark.

So, yesterday’s game. She kicked the ball and it hit one of the girls on the other team in the face. As a mom, I always worry about someone getting hurt. So, I was happy to see the child shake it off and keep on playing! Tough cookie. Go girl.

Well, a little later in the game, one of the girls on the other team kicked a ball and it accidentally hit one of our girls in the face. Again, I perked up to make sure she was OK. And with that, the man next to me looked right at me and (with attitude) said ‘well, well… I guess what comes around goes around’. My eyes bugged out and I said — WHAT? Because surely I didn’t hear him correctly. He repeated himself. He was dead serious.

WOW.

Just WOW.

I didn’t say anything else to him. I’m pretty sure my body language said it all. His wife playfully bopped him in the arm with her hand and said ‘stop that’! I couldn’t look at either one of them.

Mama bear was out and I knew I was just better off to stay silent and focus on what really mattered - the game.

To think that a grown man would actually believe that at eight years old these girls were intentionally trying to hurt each other? They’re learning the game. They’re trying out new foot skills. Sure, they want to win! But, part of what I love about this age in general is the innocence. It was just a mean comment. Period.

I suppose I should prepare myself! This was probably a minor incident! I fear what I might encounter down the road! But, it’s truly disheartening.

I love the lyrics to a song that was popular years back when I was on country radio… ‘Let Them Be Little’ by Billy Dean.

Let them be little, cause they’re only that way for a while.

Give them hope, give them praise, give them love, everyday.

Let ‘em cry, let ‘em giggle, let them sleep in the middle.

Oh just let them be little.

Come on, dad at the soccer field. Help build these girls up with positivity. Be kind so they’ll hopefully follow your lead. And yeah. Let them be little. They’re only that way for a while.

Jennifer Waldman