Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this review. It reflects my honest opinions.
If your kids play youth sports, you’ve probably seen plenty of bad sports parent behavior on the sidelines. But have you thought about what goes on at home, in the car, and elsewhere behind the scenes? Sometimes we can all use a lesson in what not to do when our kids play sports.
Although I laughed and shook my head numerous times during the movie, there were a few moments that just were over the top. By over the top, I mean so upsetting that I actually turned away and didn’t watch the screen. There was R rated content. It’s definitely not appropriate for kids. Personally I think the movie would have driven its point home without the sexually explicit content, the F word, and the over to the top scenes, but at the same time, in some respects, these scenes serve to show how outrageous sports parents’ behavior can become.
The movie starts off with the soccer board agreeing to split a U8 team into A and B, with the reasoning that the less skilled players will hold the more skilled players back. The key word here is U8…we’re talking 7 year olds! The scary thing about this is that this does happen from time to time. Kids are still developing at these younger years, and it makes absolutely no sense to be splitting them up by A and B at U8. Even later, when the A and B teams have been formed, coaches should be extending the same training, resources and opportunities to each team, because kids do develop at different levels. Just because a kid is on the “B” team when she’s 10 doesn’t mean that’s where she’ll be at age 12. You’ll often find that “B” team players become “A” team players down the road.
That being said, the parents in the movie behaved outrageously. The splitting of the team is the least of it. Although they say over and over again, “it’s about the kids,” clearly it’s about the parents’ egos. The parents are so enamoured with their kids being on the “A” team that they have lost sight of the fact that youth sports are supposed to be fun. The assistant coach’s daughter does not want to be there. She barely plays, so you wonder whether her disinterest is because she doesn’t get much playing time, or rather, is it because she was never interested to begin with? Jenna, the narrator’s daughter, would rather play soccer on the playground with friends than with her team. Less pressure perhaps? Nick, the coach, is so overzealous and arrogant (other words come to mind as well) that you find yourself wondering how any parent could stand to let their child play on his team. For the most part, these parents aren’t people that you’d want to know. My favorite parent was Tracy, Gary’s (assistant coach) wife. I liked her reaction at the beginning of the movie when Gary came home and told her that their daughter had all but secured a spot on the “A” team because he was going to be assistant coaching, but at the end of the movie, she “scored” big with her ability to look at the situation from a more objective place than the rest of the parents.
Check out the trailer:
I won’t tell you how it ends (it’s a dark ending though), but I will say this movie will make you think about what not to do when your kid plays sports.
It will make you think before you yell at a referee, coach, player or another parent from the sidelines.
It will make you think about what you say to your child.
It will make you think about what you say about other children.
It will make you think about what you say to the coach.
And the bottom line is, that’s the real takeaway here! It’s important that we all think before we speak and remember that it IS about the kids! Let’s not lose sight of the fact that sports should be fun! Here’s to a fun (and civil) sports season!