In any sport there will be calls made by the referees that coaches, athletes and parents or spectators may not agree with.

While the call made by the referee is out of our control, we can control how we react to the call. Yelling at the referee, cussing about a call loud enough for the referee to hear is inappropriate, disrespectful and reflects on the institution which your athlete is representing.

What do we hope to accomplish? The referee is not going to change his call. Parents/spectators need to stop and think before reacting. It’s just a game. It’s over in 90 minutes. However, your actions speak loudly, and what you teach your child in that 90 minutes will last a lifetime.

At the beginning of the season, parents signed the Student Athlete’s Parent Pledge: “As a parent, I acknowledge that I am a role model. I will remember that school athletics is an extension of the classroom, offering learning experiences for the students. I must show respect for all players, coaches, spectators, and support groups. I will participate in cheers that support, encourage, and uplift the teams involved. I understand the spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship expected by our school, conference and the NCHSAA. I hereby accept my responsibility to be a model of good sportsmanship that comes with being the parent of a student athlete.”

There were a few parents who demonstrated poor sportsmanship on both sides of the field a recent soccer match. Yes, it was disheartening to see the Mountaineers get thrashed 9-0 by the Rams. Yes, the calls, or lack of, could have been better. Yelling at the referees may have made one feel better in the moment, but is it worth embarrassing the coaches, other parents and your child by demonstrating a lack of knowledge and understanding about the rules of the game?

Screaming at the team does nothing but embarrass your athlete, the school, and it’s inappropriate. We are a reflection of not only Tuscola soccer but all of Tuscola sports.

So, the next time you want to yell at the referee, stop and think about how your actions reflect on your child, the team and the school. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother or in church, then don’t. If you don’t agree with the call(s), become a referee, for there is a shortage. Let the coaches handle the referees and the team. That’s their job. Let the coaches coach, the players play and the parents cheer.

Just cheer, that’s what parents do best.

Sherri Swaim lives in Waynesville.

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