Football moms can be a great bunch of women to hang out with and can be brutal during game day, particularly to their opposing teams’ moms. I speak from first-hand experience at a spring league travel game double header when the mom’s from the ‘other’ team just couldn’t help themselves and decided they were going to stand on the side-line of the visiting team, in their words, because they can. Naturally this was merely a provocative move to entice the visiting teams’ moms into an altercation, at the very least an exchange of very nasty words. Unfortunately there is always one wonderful mom who takes the bait and falls right into the trap, she just can’t help herself. Naturally she will defend her son’s team and snap back. As a professional Mediator how can I allow this to occur especially on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in front of children?
World renowned family therapist Virginia Satir is quoted “Negative events don’t have to be responded to negatively.” Just because the opposing team’s mom threw the ball at the visiting team (so to speak) they didn’t have to catch it. Unfortunately that one feisty mom did. So after a few harsh words were exchanged, which I believe is always good to allow each side to express themselves, albeit safely and in a controlled manner, the situation came to a point where it had to be diffused. While visiting team just couldn’t understand why home team had to come over to their side, it was clear. I pulled aside visiting team moms and explained that they were only there to taunt them, ruffle their feathers and say things to upset them. Their options were to move down the field as the ball in play did, continue to support their boys and ignore to the best of their ability these ill-mannered women; or they could take their bait become agitated by them and have them ruin the ball game and the focus on their boys.
I politely asked the home team moms if it was necessary for them to stand on the visiting teams’ sideline? Their response once again was that they could stand wherever they wanted to. I asked them to realize that hearing them on this side was provocative to the visiting team and asked them to understand their position…they didn’t care because that was their purpose. All I could do was to ask that they keep their distance and keep their comments clean and to remember that the game is about the boys and there are young families about, please keep the language clean. This seemed to have diffused them a bit. They stayed in one spot trying to be as loud and annoying as they could. The visiting team moms moved up and down the field focusing on the game.
What goes around comes around: The visiting team ended up winning the game that day and as the visiting team moms cheered extra loudly while the home team moms had to walk across the field back to their side, much quieter than when they arrived, eating crow…perhaps they learned their lesson.