Sweep the leg is the sort of pop culture reference that makes my generation smile. The boys and I use it both in jest and without, but I never thought that it would be used at my daughter’s soccer game.
That not just because the dark eyed beauty is 7.75 going on 30. It is because the league is for 8 and 9 year-old girls. It is supposed to be a place where the girls can have fun, learn how to be a part of a team and get the kind of exercise that video games can’t provide.
Most of the time the games really are nothing but fun, competitive but fun. But yesterday things got ugly. Yesterday the coach on the other team told his girls to sweep the leg.
Ok, I didn’t hear him say that but his team of pig tailed cut throats was out for blood. They pushed, kicked, shoved and tripped our girls with reckless abandon and unabashed enthusiasm.
If you know me in real life you know that I play a very aggressive game on the field/court. I like the contact and I don’t mind banging into people or being hit. It is part of the game. So I told the girls to defend themselves. I told them that they were not to try and hurt the other team but that they couldn’t allow themselves to just be pushed around.
And then two of our girls went down hard and parents got angry. I did too. It was unnecessary.
I reiterated again that we weren’t there to retaliate but that we weren’t punching bags either.
In the interim things started to get ugly. The parents from the other team started trash talking and their coach told us to “get over it.” Words were exchanged and I began to wonder if things were going to wind up in a very dark place.
That made me very angry. There is no reason for that kind of talk or behavior, especially at a soccer game for kids.
The First Punch
I heard two of the fathers on their side start talking about who on our side needed to get their asses kicked and I positioned myself just behind them. One of the other dads from my daughter’s team wandered over and told me that he thought I should stay out of it.
I laughed and told him that I wasn’t going to throw the first punch, but I wasn’t going to let them do it either. He said it wasn’t worth getting hurt and I told him that my kids weren’t going to witness a meaningless brawl on the side of the field.
He asked me how I would stop it and I told him that if necessary I would sweep the leg.
And Then What Happened
He laughed and I asked him to stay with me just in case something happened. “I am not as big as you are and I don’t want to get hurt.” I shook my head at him and explained that it was unlikely he would. All we needed to do was stand in between the angry parties and calm would be maintained.
The coach for the other team turned and glared at us. “Your team is on the field coach, I think they need your attention. They are much cuter than we are. Maybe you should tell them to try kicking the ball and not our girls.”
My less than eager “peacekeeper” told me that I was doing a hell of a job of maintaining order. I smiled and said that some people just need a reminder that others are watching them.
In The End
The whistle blew and the game ended without fists flying. Several of our girls were in tears and there were still very angry parents buzzing about the edges of the field. More words were exchanged between them but fortunately nothing happened.
One of the moms on the other side made a crack about our girls being wimpy and I responded by telling her that nobody likes the mean girl and that mean moms are liked even less because junior high ended a long time ago. I wasn’t surprised to discover that she was the coach’s wife.
It really was a sad experience and a sad commentary about a lot of things. It is just a game. My daughter is unaware of what happened between the parents on the sidelines so I am grateful for that.
Sometimes people are just peachy.