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What About Soccer Dads?

Please fire the person who approves your cover titles. In “Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst” (January 10), the article discusses parents who pressure and berate coaches, referees, and their children involved in youth sports, but the title is based on one recount in which mothers grumbled amongst themselves about team rosters, not about their children’s performances. Of the article’s 21 “bad behavior” vignettes in which gender was identified, only 3 of the stories (including the “soccer mom” one) were about mothers, and the other 18 were about fathers acting poorly. And yet you also chose to highlight one of the other three “mother” stories in a textbox in the article’s opening spread! Is the image of high heels on a basketball court too titillating to pass up? Your title is misleading and grossly inconsistent with the article itself. Why the cover’s inaccurate gripe against mothers as the main offenders, when the article suggests that sports fathers are “the absolute worst,” if anyone must be called that?

Larissa Leroux

via email

Issues Exposed

Regarding your cover story “Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst” (January 10), your author exposed a lot of common issues in youth sports. I have coached Little League, recreational, and competitive youth as well as high school soccer over the past 25 years, and I can relate to most of the stories in your article. I have seen the good and bad parents and good and bad coaches and the effect they have on the kids and teams. Great article.

Mike Usher

via email

Sometimes Ya’ Gotta Yell

Regarding the cover story on soccer moms (“Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst,” Cover Story, January 10). First, Bill Walton’s photo is funny. It looks like he’s got basketball clones he’s creating to take over the world. But in regards to Walton’s comments on coaches not yelling at kids, he totally misses the boat on that. He is a hall of fame basketball player, and I respect his opinion, but it does not make sense to say that coaches at the college level cannot yell at kids. His coach, John Wooden at UCLA, didn’t have to yell because he coached people like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, who were the best centers who ever played. Coaches like Phil Jackson of the Lakers, they don’t yell, and they do all this coaching and Buddha and giving books on philosophy to players, and that doesn’t work. It’s not working for the Lakers now. It only worked when they had Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, two future hall of fame players. So Bill Walton needs to realize that not everybody is from the ’60s and believes in this love everyone and no yelling. I wonder what he’d think of military boot camps.

Paul Nelson

Mira Mesa

Too Hot To Cheer

I enjoyed reading the “Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst” cover story issued January 10. I find it amazing (in both a comical and disgusted way) how some parents and/or coaches conduct themselves when involved in a youth sports league. I have both witnessed and experienced out-of-line and over-the-top reactions during youth sporting events many times.

The most recent one that comes to mind doesn’t even involve any verbal abuse. It doesn’t even involve any abuse that one could witness someone actually physically doing. In September of this past year, I attended a Mighty Mites (ages seven to nine) football game in Santee. The game started at 10:00 a.m., and you would think the weather could be halfway decent at this hour. However, on this day the temperature had already reached above 100 degrees and was still rising at a slow pace. All of the adults attending the event, including myself, were seeking shade in the bleachers. I was able to find a shady spot under another attendee’s sun umbrella, and so I started to watch the game.

I was blown away when I saw cheerleaders out on the field baking in the sun. These girls were the same age range as the boys playing, seven to nine. They had no shade and were on the track pavement that surrounded the football field. During the game, which lasted two hours, they would go into a 15-minute-long set of cheers and then take a 10- to 15-minute break sitting on the track. One of their coaches (who I’m guessing was once a cheerleader herself) would come around and spray them down with water and then give a small pep talk about how great they were doing and to keep it up, but during the entire game they were never moved into the shade for a break. Even the players on the field had a shade tent that they were under when they were not playing, but these girls had nothing. I should also mention that these girls represented the home team. The visiting team had a cheerleading squad; however, their parents/coaches decided not to have them cheer since it was so hot.

The visiting football team ran out of water at one point and had to purchase water from the home side. Three boys were suffering from heat exhaustion by the end of the day, two of whom vomited due to this.

I say, when the temperature rises above 100 degrees, there is no reason to force these kids to play. They’re not gaining anything by it, unable to give their all in such conditions. Even though there was no person you could physically see being over the top, I feel this is the same thing.

Karyl Bing

via email

Been There, Seen That

I just read the cover story for this week’s Reader’s “Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst” (January 10). What a great story!

This is the type of story that needs to be told! As a father of two young children in sports, I have seen many of the ill-mannered, overbearing parents talked about in this story. I am glad the Reader printed this story. Maybe some will see themselves in this story and lighten up a bit and let their kids have fun.

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