I will never forget the day I learned an important lesson: soccer moms are vicious. It was a sunny Saturday morning in May, and it was my first game as the center referee. This was a big moment for a 14-year old. When I blew the whistle to indicate the start of the game, butterflies flapped around my stomach as I prepared to do my best to make the most accurate calls I could. As I ran back and forth on the field in the diagonal pattern I learned after many classes, I began to hear snide remarks and shouts from the sidelines. The parents had transformed from your average carpooling parents into whatever they become while attending their 10 year old’s soccer game.
As the game continued, the parents kept yelling their opinions and screaming at me that I was wrong. After the game ended, I ran to my mom’s car to grab the food she brought me. She opened the car window to offer me breakfast when I burst into tears. I proceeded to tell her how the parents all yelled and screeched at me and how awful it was. She looked at me while tears streamed down my face and told me that not everyone will agree with my calls, but as long as I trusted the training I had completed, I would do fine. She told me the importance of portraying confidence and how this was the one opportunity where I could ignore parents. When I turned from my mom, a dad from one of the teams came up and told me not to take it too personally and that he thought I did a great job. He told me people will always have opinions, but ultimately, mine was all that mattered. He gave me the mental support to continue my day and finish the other 5 games I was assigned. As I thanked him I wiped away my tears, grabbed my McGriddle, and walked back on the field, prepared to face the next game.
Despite the fact that it felt as though the parents ripped out my tiny, teenage heart, I learned the importance of staying focused on the tasks I must complete in order to be successful. I have learned to tune out the noise of negativity while I give my best efforts to do the things I love. Even though my calls may not have pleased everyone, I knew that I was doing a good job and sometimes the most important opinion is the one you have of yourself. When I have confidence in my calls, whether it be on or off the field, I am happier and more successful.
Although it is important to have personal opinions and beliefs, it is also necessary to take advice from others. In soccer there are assistant referees, they symbolize the support system needed in order to succeed. When I have tough decisions to make I often look to my parents or friends for help, while ignoring the screams from the strangers on the sidelines.
The dad from that day displayed the kindness that I so desperately needed. He represents the kind of stranger I want to be. I hope to follow in his footsteps and provide support to those who need it.