- touch, referee, touch
- referee, they're offside
- get in their (by this he meant the oppositions) face
- referee, are you watching the run of play?
- we got that tag 5 yards up the pitch ref
Now, I'm not one for listening to this kind of piffle at a 6-7 years olds tag rugby match. At an Ulster match, definitely - in fact I've been known to be quite vociferous myself. But there's a time and a place. And this was not the time or the place. So I gave him a look. Which, I have to say, he manfully ignored, but his wife caught it and started to say things like, 'it's only a game dear' and 'I think you're maybe taking this a nit too seriously'. You think, eh?
Then there's the losing parents, of which, today, I was one. All sweetness and light when the coaches are standing chatting with them, but as soon as the losing starts they are criticising 'selection procedures for teams' and 'coach involvement on the pitch', taking a pop at 'the way the team have been trained throughout the year' ... I could go on.
I have a husband who is a mini rugby coach. They are at the ground first every Saturday morning for 9am, and they leave last when all is tidied up. Or when all the kids are collected, which sometimes can be up to an hour after the session is over. They also have mid-week training and matches on occasions and frequently have organisational/planning meetings during the week, particularly in the run up to events like todays. This morning, the coaches were at the grounds from 7am to set up. They were there until 5pm this evening. And they are, of course, all volunteers. In fact, they have to pay membership to the club for the privilege of coaching other peoples kids, whereas the majority of parents just turn up and show no financial allegiance whatsoever. And yes, if coaches have kids, their kids still pay full wack mini rugby fees as well.
So, if you are a parent with issues, be a coach I say. Or get married to one. Then come and criticise with impunity.