When we play one school (modified soccer), the parents argue and claim to know the "rules", which change to suit their needs. How do I handle this?
During the first game, one man complained about slide tackling, and other parents heckled in, claiming we must just allow it at our school. They were very mean-spirited, and I struggled to bite my tongue, thinking my son, and our team, is a group of kids just like their team and really didn't deserve this. During the second game, at their school, this same man came late, sat where we (several parents from the other team) were, then proceeded to stand up in front of us most of the game. He argued several calls, claimed slide tackling was illegal (I simply stated to him, with no emotion whatsoever that I thought the refs had the game under control), and complained and taunted us and our children the entire game. When his team had penalties, the refs did not know what they were talking about, when ours did, it was "about time they noticed". How do you best deal with people like this, who actually seem to seek out conflict?
That can be quite a difficult situation and very frustrating. Trying to control another parent is tough and at times, needs to be handled delicately. Here are my thoughts:
While it is important for parents to be involved in their child's sports and activities, a parent that takes things too far may have a negative impact on not only their child, but others as well. Sportsmanship & “having class” is an often-stressed theme for athletes. However, when parents are supposed to lead by example yet are the ones being disrespectful, its sending the wrong message to young, still-growing athletes. Furthermore, while passion and support are encouraged, being obnoxious and/or malicious towards referees and their calls is unnecessary. There are many positive ways to root for your team without being offensive.
With that said, I doubt reiterating these points to him would yield the results you're looking for...especially since you are on the opposing team. Yes, you may ask him to show a little more respect and he might actually calm down and be more considerate. But considering he is a repeat offender, he may take your comment the wrong way and act even more outrageous. My suggestion would be to contact your school's principal or sports director. He/she might be able to contact the other school and inform their parents to show a little more respect at the games. If this man has been disrespectful at both games, chances are those are not the only times he has displayed this type of behavior.
I attached an article about parents w/ poor sportsmanship that I think you will find both interesting and useful. Good luck with your situation and I hope it is resolved without too much commotion. I also wish your son the best of luck in his athletics!