As we came off the rugby pitch today, my son asked me about a situation, and he got very angry about it. I realised I was extremely angry about it too. So I decided to blog about it. I know most of my readers aren’t touchline parents, but I would be grateful for your views. Is this really an acceptable way for an adult with responsibility for children, even 12 and 13 year olds, to behave?!
It was one of those days you really didn’t want to be watching rugby. When I left the house it was relatively warm and sunny. I very nearly forgot to put my thermal base layers on. I had no hat, no proper coat (only a gilet) and no waterproof trousers. In the time it took us to cross to the other side of town, the wind whipped up and it started raining. It was cold and miserable.
I was watching my eldest’s team (under 13s). I usually watch my younger son, always have done, and my husband watches my eldest. I don’t like the aggression and danger of watching the older boys, although even the under 10s are getting pretty scary now.
It was part way through the second half. My son, whose legs were red raw with the cold, because the
idiot poor kid hadn’t had the sense to take any warm, dry clothes with him, had only just gone on the pitch (that’s what happens when you let your kids take responsibility for their own kit). A kid went down. Kids go down a lot in rugby, my younger son being a prime example When a kid goes down, the ref should stop the game.
‘Ref, ref,’ shouted a dad by me.
‘Ref, ref, there’s a kid down.’
More parents started shouting.
The boy didn’t move. He didn’t get up and walk off crying or shed a few tears then bravely soldier on, like they usually do.
The coach went over and sat with him. Then the other coach took a coat over to cover him.
And still the ignorant ref played on.
I’m not exaggerating to say it was five minutes before the ref stopped the game.
The dad who’d first called him did a slightly sarcastic clap. Nothing wrong with that, under the circumstances.
Did the ref go over to check the injured boy?
No. He came marching over to the dad to give him a mouthful of abuse and sarcastically hand him the whistle to see if he could do a better job of refereeing the game. He called him an effing twat in front of other parents, the kids and younger brothers and sisters, before finally going to check on the injured kid.
An ambulance car came. The two teams went and quietly occupied themselves. More people gathered around the kid and shielded him with umbrellas and more coats. Then a real ambulance came.
After half an hour, the freezing, soaking kids were sent home. The boy was still on the ground. We saw him stretchered off as we drove past on the way home. I am praying that he is OK, but I’m feeling a little scared. Scared for a child I don’t even know, because that’s what parents do.
So how is the ref feeling? What do you think? He wouldn’t have known how badly the boy was hurt, but is it ever acceptable for an adult with responsibility for kids to talk like that? And is it acceptable for him to put his own anger before an inured child?
Where is the respect in kids’ sport?