Soccer….Family Style

To Family Section or Not To Family Section
November 2, 2010, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Match Fit USA posted today about trouble in Australia’s A-League, as well as in MLS, with cursing in the supporters section disrupting the enjoyment of women, in particular mothers with children, who would also be watching the game. It took only minutes for me to get Twitter mentions as the representative of mothers who still want to sit with the supporters. But I’ll go a step further.

I’m a mother who LOVES the supporters section. I will sit with the supporters even if I’m not one of them. I just think it’s more fun to watch a game with the people who are passionate about the game. And yes, I take my 3 year old and 8 year old with me into the supporters section, because they also LOVE singing and chanting and dancing under the banner.

This means that I *gasp* have to talk to my children about how things are in the world. There is “stadium language” that is OK to use at a soccer game that we would NEVER use on a play date. And when possible, we do teach the kids the kid friendly version of cheers. For instance, instead of “You suck, A–hole” our kids know it as “Your socks have holes!” It works, I swear.

There are times when they do pick up some rather nasty language. We took the kids to the Chicago Fire game the night before a USMNT game and in Section 8 (the supporters section). The Fire was playing Columbus Crew, who wears head to toe yellow. And to the tune of “Yellow Submarine”, I notice my 3 year old son had picked up with perfect pronunciation “Why are you such a yellow f—ing team?”

OK, so I wasn’t thrilled, but along with my dread of ever having him sing that song in preschool, I was a little proud. Here was my little guy, singing away with the rest of the supporters. It was the same swell of pride I felt in Germany in 2006 when his then 3-1/2 year old sister led a train full of soccer fans in “Everywhere we go”. I think it’s cool that my kids are supporters, and I’m willing to take the good with the bad. Which is easier for me to post a few weeks after the fact, now that my son has not belted our the Chicago Fire version of Yellow Sub in the middle of the supermarket.

2 Comments so far
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Amen! (I’ve always tried to impart to my kids that yes, some things in life ARE situational, and the sooner you learn this, the better. Plus you’ll have more fun.)

Comment by laurie

I stand at TFC games in the front row of the supporter’s section with U-Sector. Without getting too much into a discussion between Canadian and America attitudes I’ve noticed a lot more tolerance towards swearing in Toronto than when I have been on the road at MLS games. In Chicago the security guard in front of our section was nearly obsessed with swearing at the expense of other issues (flares/public intoxication, etc). NO CUSSIN’ he kept yelling at us and as Mr. Sober that night it fell on me to keep a few of the more, um, excitable, fans in line (which is about as easy as heading cats).

In Toronto the cops in front of our section have been seen biting their lips to stop laughing. And we have a song that ends with us yelling “Landon you’re a (word that rhymes with bunt)” sung to the tune of Wheels on the Bus. We’ve never been told to tone anything down language wise. Nor would it go over at all if we were.

I can’t say that I disagree. The supporter’s section is labelled as such. If you sit in it you know that it’s going to be a little blue from time to time. Chances are you’re there because you enjoy that. You can’t be “a little bit pregnant” when it comes to being part of a supporter’s section.

But to speak to the point in this article, it’s not at all unheard of for children to be down with us. My friend Colin has a photo of his then three-year-old son in the front row of the section in 2007. He is very proud of that photo and is sure that his son will be one day too. Outside of the fact that he is a supporter of the Rags, Colin is a stand-up, contributing member of society. As for women…

There are lots of women more than comfortable in our section, many of which even sing the Landon song with the really bad word in it.

Marketing to families in MLS is an abject failure. The sooner the league understands that (and it’s starting to) the better. The only thing offensive about YSA is that it’s witless.

Comment by Duane Rollins

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