David Massey

April 24, 2022 at 9:00 am

The trouble with amateur football

The trouble with amateur football

For over ten years I have followed my eldest two boys and their sporting endeavours. But almost every week there is “trouble” at the game!

Even when they played for the local church team aged eight there would be parents on the sideline challenging every decision by the stand-in referee, exhorting both the brilliance of their offspring and the injustices of a game stolen, or worse.

But it is in the amateaur leagues that things really hot up. I don’t know anything about the economic interests that move and muddy the waters (and the goalposts) in the local soccer scene in Rome. All I know is that each week starts out with clear blue skies but is liable to end with, at best, insults traded and, at worst, the poor junior referee hiding in the changing rooms fearful of facing the wrath of the baying parents until the local police arrive to escort him (mostly him – although several young women too now) away.

I am happy my children do sport. It is a commitment to keep, it is about the team, it is healthy and good for them.

But I will never get used to the visceral emotions that so easily ruin the day out and where the worst of who we are as parents is so much on display.

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