If your children play sports, I am sure you are familiar with the concept of “silent sidelines.” Silent sidelines take place during a specified game, and all spectators must be silent on the sidelines. Seems simple enough, right? The exact language from our soccer organization stated “applause is permitted and encouraged.” As much as I appreciate the concept of allowing coaches to communicate more effectively with players, and as much as some parents really push the envelope with appropriateness during sporting events…I think silent sidelines REALLY STINKS!
For starters, seven (the age of my oldest daughter) is too young to worry about parents yelling obnoxious things from the sidelines (for the most part), and in the under eight league we do not even have officials, so I have never once heard a parent complain about a call. In my experience, the volunteer coaches at this age are wonderfully patient, calm individuals who know how to communicate to a giggling, excited, and sometimes unfocused group of seven-year old girls. What I saw this weekend was that complete silence from the sidelines hurt our team’s performance. The players on my daughter’s team definitely kept looking to the sidelines for reassurance, guidance, and some good old cheering! Muffled applause really did not pump up the team the way cheering does.
Also, I have noticed some parent direction, given in a positive way, can help players, especially in the elementary years. I know, for a fact, I can be more effective with one “Let’s get your head in the game” than a coach can be with a solid three minutes of “C’mon let’s focus.”
Also, when my daughter’s team scores a goal, I like to hoot and holler and congratulate the player. It’s extremely obnoxious to me that this positive reinforcement has to be muffled, because of a few extreme cases, which have brought a bad name to the “loud parent cheering section.” But I obliged, I was as quiet as I could possibly be, with only a few minor slip ups.
After the game my fellow soccer mom friend, sent me a picture of this handy tent. I think next year, regardless of the weather, I will bring it to the game during silent sidelines, zip myself inside and cheer till my heart is content!
Despite the fact our team did not play especially well, and my hand gestures and hand signals clearly were not in any way useful, we made it through silent sidelines weekend. However, my overall assessment of this emerging sports’ trend is a resounding TWO THUMBS DOWN!