Coaching parents to be the adult

Monday, January 14, 2019
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

blowing the whistleParents need to chill out. That's the frank advice from a high school soccer referee.

Brian Barlow started a Facebook page in 2017 called Offside. It shames parents for their behavior at games and asks people to send in footage of parents yelling at and threatening referees.

"I think we need good role models in this country," Barlow tells OneNewsNow, "and I think parents are taking that opportunity away from themselves."

When he's officiating games, Barlow can't say a lot, but he says it's absolutely deplorable what is happening at sporting events.

"I see it giving a negative effect to the game," he continues. "So the parents need to learn to chill out and accept the fact that youth sports are there to develop. Youth sports are there to help us understand when you get knocked down, you got to get back up. Youth sports are there to help us learn what teamwork is and comraderie is, and parents are taking all that away from us."

Barlow has done television appearances about the Facebook page, including a recent segment on Fox & Friends.

"I would say 80 to 85 percent of the response that I get on my Offside page on Facebook is really really positive," he adds. "(People say), Hey, because of your Facebook page, I have changed my behavior. Because of your page, I no longer yell at referees. Because of your page, I learn how to unconditionally love my child, even after a bad game."

Barlow says he's also received feedback from officials that refs need to have a thick skin and not worry about what parents say.

"So there are some people out there that aren't into the shaming aspect of the page," he admits. "They don't think that we should be enticing people to shoot video of parents behaving badly, but I'm not looking for anyone's approval. I'm looking for everyone's attention."

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