The sun was finally out on Saturday, and that meant perfect weather for youth sports. It has been a rough spring for kids playing sports like soccer and softball and baseball. When it hasn't been raining it has been windy and cold. But Saturday's weather was perfect as Cayleigh had a noon soccer game at the Tuma Sports Complex north of Marion.

I love watching my kids play sports. We watched Cayleigh recently complete a successful volleyball season and now she has moved on to soccer. As a parent and spectator, I always try and stay positive and encouraging when I say things during a game. I found out that in club volleyball that things got pretty vocal from parents, and I fit right in! But during soccer, I learned this weekend that I need to do a better job of just keeping my mouth shut.

Ryan Brainard
Ryan Brainard
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During this particular game, play was a bit more physical than in Cayleigh's previous two games. She normally plays forward so she is attacking and trying to score goals. But the defense was tough and there were several times that she got shoved by a forearm as she tried to cut around a player. The third time it happened, it occurred near the sideline in plain sight of Cayleigh's dear old dad. Without thinking, I blurted out loud for ALL to hear, "Hey Cayleigh...next time shove her back"! Suddenly seven to ten parents and grandparents were staring at me. I offered up a smiling apology that most accepted. Some continued their angry glares.

And that's fine. I stepped over the line. And the worst part is that I encouraged my daughter to do something she doesn't need to do and something that her coach would never tell her to do. I was wrong on all fronts. So to all those parents that heard my comment, I'm sorry. But that is my daughter out there, playing her heart out, just like yours is. No one is more proud of her efforts than I am.

Cayleigh has another game scheduled tonight. I promise to be quieter. What could possibly go wrong?

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