Meanwhile, the man with the whistle on the field is a parent volunteer who needed hours of training to officiate a game he probably never played as a child. Unless you are prepared to take the certification classes and then pull on the yellow and black uniform and wave flags at small children, try shutting up. Sure, a call might be dreadful. Then again, so might your parenting, but you don’t see a ref coming over and saying anything to you. Until, that is, a parent becomes unruly enough to be warned. And this guy, a burly sort with fists balled at his sides and a tense forward lean, was asked to leave after two warnings. It never should have gotten that far. Parents and coaches should have applied peer pressure. This, by the way, is coming from me, a coach who once had a ref – one of our own team parents working a game of 5-year-olds – walk off the field after another of our parents began arguing a call. Then again, which AYSO coach hasn’t had to deal with the screaming parent or the otherwise absent parent who suddenly takes time out from his cell phone and newspaper to suggest game strategy during a team huddle? In the early years I was polite about this sort of interference. The last time I was head coach, I told maybe six parental buttinskis that I’d be happy to let them take over the coaching responsibilities. That was the year the parents of my 13 boys, all great kids, honored me with a generous $20 gift certificate of appreciation. Not that it mattered. Because that’s not why I was doing it and not why that ref was out there on a Sunday morning taking abuse from a parent in a situation that could easily have spun out of control. The scene didn’t even end there. The ejected father stomped off the field and continued to rage unintelligibly. Maybe I was alone in picturing this thing getting uglier even after the opposing coach offered apologies. But I know I wasn’t alone in the realization that we are out there for an important reason, out there because we don’t want our children to be the creature howling from the dark side of the fence. I want to hear your comments. Connect with me at [email protected], call 310-543-6681 or send a letter to Daily Breeze/John Bogert, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA. 90503-4077. Hear my podcast at www.dailybreeze.com/.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.And it all happens because there is a belief system in place here. By fielding children from age 5, by putting them in little red uniforms and letting them call themselves Fireballs, or green uniforms that will inspire a team name like Green Slime, we are all agreeing on something. By we, I mean AYSO and all the loving moms and dads, all those same-sex couples, divorced couples and barely speaking couples, all those married strangers, all those Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu children, all those children of all races and nationalities that somehow all become sweet Fireballs and happy Green Slime. When we put children out there, when we drive them to games, work those games and make tunnels with our outstretched arms for them to run through – praised – we buy into the idea that there is something of value going on here, something needing to be passed along, something worth knowing. Which is why bad parental behavior is such a contradiction, so disturbing and why AYSO does so much to combat it. But there it was in full flower on Sunday morning – bellowing dad, the dad who knows it all. Only he’s too busy to volunteer as a coach or a referee, like the one he began abusing in the first quarter of a game that mattered little beyond this uneven field. I never thought so, but it is somehow acceptable to shout at game officials in the big leagues, but this isn’t the bigs. These are boys on a sunny Sunday morning playing their hearts out for fun and for reasons that they are not even aware of. It was just another casually ugly incident tainting an otherwise stunning Sunday morning and a soccer game that turned out to be something more than that. Our team wore white. Their team wore red. And the players were mostly 13 years old, rangy and delightfully mired in the between time, in the awkward moments between boyhood and what they will soon become. So they speak in cracking voices and run like maniacs, tripping one another, ragging on one another, wrestling, falling down for no reason and playing the game as directed only rarely. Ask any AYSO coach the value of yelling at boys from the sidelines. The smart ones, like my son’s coach, don’t bother. As assistant-coach-by-default, neither do I. The fact is, by this age, the boys know what they are doing. But getting them here was another matter completely. Getting them to where they don’t chase the ball like a pack of cats, to where they don’t just leave the field midgame to sit on their mom’s laps has taken the massed effort of coaches, referees, team parents, sponsors and dozens of other volunteers the kids never even meet.