After what has been years and years of watching our children play sport and having done a touch of coaching, I have seen and heard an array of parental sideline behaviour, ranging from the absolutely awesome to the completely unbearable and shocking.
However, last Sunday afternoon, what started as your standard footy game at the local club escalated into scenes of horrific physical and verbal violence.
At an under 15s football grand final, an umpire had to “run for his life” after parents and kids launched an attack at the end of the game.
Live streamed on Facebook by Joel Ives, he explained the arguments erupted after two 50-metre penalties were awarded to Point Cook, just 30 seconds before the final siren.
John Dodd, who was watching on from the sidelines, told The Age that he was scared for the life of the umpire.
"There were supporters and parents throwing punches at him. He was running away, dodging punches, and if he had fallen over I don't know what would have happened," he said.
"He was running for his life at a junior football match, which is ridiculous."
The truth is, stories of violence from crowds at kids' sports matches are not unusual. They happen every weekend, across the country.
If you have a child who already plays sport, or if you are about to embark on a future that involves your youngster participating in sport, then aim to train yourself, from the very first blow of the very first whistle, to offer encouragement and, encouragement only, from the sideline.
Learn early how to bite your tongue when you feel you would like to add anything more than this to the game. This is not as easy as it may seem… my personal experience, #OwningMySlipUps, has taught me that. When you find yourself about to burst forth, remembering the following may help…
You are not the coach.
The coaches you will come across are most likely volunteers who are dedicating their time and energy to helping your child develop an understanding and a love of the game. You are not the coach. Don’t try to be the coach. If you want to be the coach, put your hand up next time you register your child. Unless you have been specifically asked by the coach to help, your instructions from the sidelines will be; annoying the coach; confusing the players and quite simply, not helping.