This weekend my son's club soccer team travels to New York for a weekend tournament. If you have children who play competitive sports, then you know what a big commitment of time and money it is to be part of these teams, and how involved the spectators get. And by spectators, I mean parents, usually Dads, but sometimes Moms too.
For my son's travel soccer team the parents have to sign a document promising to behave. Basically, "behave" means to not exchange words with the parents of the other teams, or with any of the players. So for the Dads on our team that leaves talking to each other and to themselves, which they don't even realize they are doing.
I call the Dads' constant chattering "Soccer Tourettes." (Note: I'm poking fun at the Dads and don't mean to insult anyone actually afflicted with Tourette Syndrome.) If you don't know about this syndrome, one of the symptoms involves repeating words or phrases. So, the Dads stand alone or in small groups, they never sit down, and blurt out words and phrases for most of the 80 minutes of every game.
Some words/phrases are unique to specific Dads and other words/phrases are muttered by all of the Dads in unison. Here are some of the more popular ones:
That's what they say when they disagree with a call the referee made. They only say "Sir" once, but say it like they are asking a question. "SIR? Technically, they are not allowed to say anything to the referees, maybe that's why they call them "Sir." By the way, they do not distinguish between male and female referees, "Sir" is apparently a unisex term in soccer.
This word is usually said two times in unison, "Unlucky. Unlucky." It means there was a bad outcome, but it was not necessarily the fault of the players.
Said once or twice and sometimes while clapping hands when a play was a "good idea" despite being unsuccessful.
"That's a good ball!"
Their voices drop a few octaves and they drag out the words when they say, "Thaaaattttt's a gooooood baaaaalll!" This is used when they are especially happy with a corner kick. I'm unable to tell you how a corner kick comes about, but I do know that a player kicks the ball from the corner of the field, hence "corner kick."
This is used when they want the boys to pass the ball to a specific player and to not just kick it randomly. Every time I hear "Find Feet" I automatically scan the field looking for feet lying about.
"You gotta shoot that ball!!!"
When the Dads think a player missed an opportunity to take a shot they let him know, "You gotta shoot that ball!" This one really gets them and they usually turn around, walk a few steps, turn back around, clap their hands and say, "Okay, okay, that's alright, here we go!"
I don't know what's going on when they mutter this one, but it's always repeated quickly under their breath, "Pressure. Pressure."
I asked my son if he can hear the Dads, and he said usually not, but he can hear me screaming.
What? I have Soccer Tourettes too?
It seems I randomly shout out various boys' names with the phrase, "Way to go!" Okay, that's not bad. I'm just being positive.
I wonder if I say "Way to go!" at the appropriate time since I don't think I totally understand what's going on most of the time despite watching soccer for years, unlike the Dads who act like soccer experts, but don't look the part.
For me, the most important information at a soccer tournament is the availability of bathrooms. Like many women my age, I have to pee a lot, especially in the morning because of coffee.
When the games are at fields with actual bathrooms, that's ideal. However, a unisex porta potty setup is a nightmare. If it's an absolutely dire situation I can handle the porta potty in the morning of Day 1 of a tournament, but I won't go near those things on Day 2 or Day 3. Never.
Apparently, having diarrhea before a game is a popular warm up activity for the kids.