Get Off The Phone, Soccer Parents


The oldest boy is playing soccer. The kind of soccer where they actually have practices and games and as a parent you have to go.

He's so excited he can't see straight.

He's also not very good at it. That's fine. The boy isn't all that athletic. Maybe he'll grow into it. Maybe he won't. But he's having fun, and he thinks he's good and loves it. To me, that's what it's all about at this stage in the game.

I will freely admit I had my cell phone out, texting a girlfriend while they were getting organized at the beginning of practice. I had a book, I had my great big old picnic-style blanket spread out, purse half dumped and was putzing around doing this and that. But as practice got going, I set down my phone and sat to watch the shenanigans.

Eight-year-old boys who don't have a clue how to play soccer trying to practice playing soccer is sort of a hoot. They're uncoordinated, they don't pay attention and I just find there to be something joyous and hilarious about them. They're playing a game in its least competitive form, and it's just fun.

So all this parental musing about the nature of sport aside, I notice a kid shoving another kid out on the field. Being a completely judgmental parent, I look around to see whose jerkwad kid this is.

And that's when I noticed.

Everyone is on their phone except me.

Texting, surfing, talking. They're doing anything except watching the field. So I sit and observe the parents. Thumbs are flying and smiles spread over their faces as they continue to communicate with their digital world that they've brought with them to the soccer field.

Game 3They are missing it. They are missing the sucky dribbling and passing. They are missing the boys' total inability to weave in and out of cones. They are missing the corner shot that knocked a kid down.

They are missing their boys being eight years old and trying to learn a sport. This moment won't come back. As a matter of fact, it's over.

I'm not a perfect parent. I text more than I should and hell if my phone would surf the web I'd be snagging content from it as well. But if I believe sports are important enough for my child to play, then they ought to be important enough for me to pay attention to while they learn.

Get off the phone. Jerks.


Live From the Wang of America

Photo Credit: Jenna Hatfield


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