The Venn of Soccer

Anne Glamore writes about her trip to her son’s first soccer tournament. Needless to say, it did not go well:

The boys were understandably upset after their loss.

“They didn’t play fair,” some said.

“Why didn’t the ref call it when they shoved us?” others wondered.

But you know, in my view a big part of sports is to use them to teach the kids about life. It’s easy to teach them how to win. It’s more challenging to show them how to lose with dignity and shake the hands of the other team when tears are streaming down their faces.

There are few opportunities as blatant as this to teach one of the most important lessons of all: Life Isn’t Fair.

Exactly. My U11 girls went through something similar last fall. The best part of Anne’s post wasn’t necessarily the description of the lesson’s learned, but the accompanying Venn Diagram:

Soccer Venn Diagram

That’s fantastic. Anne – make up T-Shirts of those on CafePress – people will buy them!

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  1. Turns out the evil Orange Crush team has registered for an upcoming tourney here, and all the teams who played them are pulling out of the tourney in protest of their dirty play. What goes around comes around, I guess!

  2. It’s unfortunate that a team would even be allowed to have such a reputation. Referees have got to start showing cards to players on teams like this more often. If a coach won’t reel his kids in (and not every coach with kids who shove/push/foul teaches them to do so), it’s up to the referees to get the point across when they play. A kid doing dangerous things on the field will start to think twice after he’s benched with a red card once or twice.

    On the flip side, I’m not sure it sends the best message to kids to have them pull out of a tournament (which kids usually love to go to) simply because of who they might face. As a coach I always try to get my players to think about using better skills to nullify any foul play they might encounter. Adjust how they play to make it harder for the other team to foul. Doesn’t mean they won’t, but it gets the kids to focus on something other than being fouled.

    No point letting a bully team scare off teams who just want to play. At some point they’re going to get beaten by teams who figure out how to handle them and then they’re fouling will get them little benefit!

  3. My team has run in to a somewhat similar situation. Except that we have one referee in our league that has no real business being on the field. Unfortunately, my team usually takes themselves completely out of the game before it even starts when they see that he is the referee.

    I give the same advice to my team about this as you gave Soccer Dad. I tell them that they are the only ones that can win or lose the game. If the referee is bad, or the other team fouls a lot, it just means that they have to play that much harder to make up for it.