Freeman Cebu Sports

Guidelines for sporting parents

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

I will be one of the several who will have a take on the foot-brawl that happened at the Aboitiz Field last Sunday between Alcoy FC and SHS-AdC FC.  Someone has become infamous because of that single picture that shows not restraint but anger and rage on his face.

Some quarters still defend that guy with his actions saying, “what if it was your son”, “it’s fatherly instinct” and other related statements.  I can’t exactly tell you what I’ll do if it did happen to my son, considering that he can defend himself from bullies.  Fatherly instinct is to protect members of the family, and there plenty of subtle ways to do this, not escalate things and in this case, that was not even his son.

All things considered, sanctions and the corresponding penalties were already imposed to both football clubs and since imposing guidelines to spectators/parents are not within the realms of the Cebu Football Association, the parent in question can’t be touched, technically, by the Association.  It’s now up to the school and the aggrieved party what to do next.

It was gathered that it was the boys from Alcoy FC who started the fight because of the taunts from the Ateneo camp.  As a reminder to city dwellers, when you taunt someone from the province, or call them “taga bukid” with other matching derogatory remarks, very seldom you get a verbal reply, they do it in kind, with kindness far from their minds.

Reports say that the match was rough and several players from both teams were given yellow cards and a team captain was even warned by the referee of his roughhousing.  For all intents and purposes, the game of football is rough and tough and body contacts are aplenty.  It is up to the respective players and coaches to deal with it.  And yes, for parents to deal with the sport that their child has gotten into.

I had been a sporting parent when my son played elementary and high school football for SHS-AdC and was tempted many times to react, citing the overused “fatherly instinct” thing.  Maybe because I had a working knowledge of the game and had actually played football during my Don Bosco days, that I restrained myself, and maybe we understand the rough and tumble sport better. 

One of Cebu’s better sportswriters, Nimrod Quiñones, listed the 10 Commandments of  Sport Parenting.  With his permission, I will be discussing Nimrod’s guidelines for parents.  Another idol sportswriter, John Pages, did a piece on this and I suppose it won’t harm the readers if I’ll be doing it again, (anyway, John is with another paper) with my own discussions on each rule.

1)            You are a parent and not the coach – I had been to tennis, football, basketball and volleyball matches and it always amuses me seeing parents and supporters shouting their own instructions to the obvious frustration of the coach.  Sometimes, the coach just stares at his players while several dads and supporters give their own versions of the plays.  The coach is there for a reason – he knows the game better than us.

2)            You should stay away from the children while they are practicing so as not to make them lose focus – check high school varsity practices anywhere and chances are there are always a handful of parents around doing a live commentary within earshot of their children and coaches.  Practices are held so that plays can be perfected and coaches really hate outside interference.  A kid will be out of synch when the mom or dad is seen at the sides with un-approving stares.

3)            Yes, you love your child so much and want him/her well hydrated but running into the field to wipe their back and giving them water even if they have not been given a break is a breach of discipline – I admit I’m guilty of offering drinks to my son and his teammates during their elementary days as their playing field before was the once vacant lot fronting Ayala Center and we’re just on the sidelines with the coolers.  I have seen a mom in a school basketball league pull her son to the sidelines to put a Good Morning towel under his uniform, defending her action saying, “basin maughan sa singot unya ubhon.”  The look on the coach’s face was a combination of shock and amusement.

4)            Cheer for your child, their teammates and even their opponents.  Acknowledge the good performance of the players whichever side they play for – Yes we always have that idea that our kid or their team is better than the rest but truly, deeply, maybe madly, there will always be better athletes than what we have on hand.  Complimenting them is the highest form of sportsmanship.

5)            Winning is not everything so don’t get angry if your child or their team loses – As the saying goes, losing makes us do better the second time around.

6)            Don’t embarrass your children by fighting with other parents or worse, fighting with their opponents, who are also kids – Check last Monday’s papers.

7)            If your child is in a contact sport, expect some contact but the good coaches and trainers can help your children minimize or avoid injuries – a good example to this notion are the coaches of the combat sports where athletes are taught to roll and weave and whatever to avoid kicks, headlocks and punches.  If you don’t want nobody to touch your kid, let them play scrabble or chess.

8)            Don’t impose yourself upon coaches, school or team officials even of you contribute an amount of money on a regular basis to help pay for your child’s coach or trainer – Like all of us, coaches and team officials also have egos and it would be very irritating to them if will just pop in every now and then to say something that was already said by the coaches in the first place.  Yes, they’re grateful for the financial assistance but they rather return the contribution just to get rid of your meddling.

9)            Be supportive by providing what you can in terms of equipment, refreshments and moral support – self explanatory, just don’t get in the way.

10)          Be a good example to your children – Usually, what the elders do, the young follows.  Let us be careful with our actions because if we have done it already, it cannot be undone and the aftertaste, good or bad, always lingers and is remembered.


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