At a recent Durango youth soccer game, we were moved to see a sign encouraging best behavior from parents with reminders, including “officials are human.”
These reminders come when across the country, adults’ bad behavior on the sidelines has resulted in a national soccer referee shortage. According to the National Federation of High School Associations, some 50,000 high school officials – about 20% – quit between 2018 and 2021.
We don’t know how much signs like these deter uncivil conduct. They fall into categories like The Golden Rule – the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated – or those from the 1986 bestseller, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. In “Kindergarten,” especially, rules could easily apply to the most obnoxious soccer parents and coaches with rule No. 2. Play fair; No. 3. Don’t hit people; and No. 7. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
These rules also transfer easily to political worlds, where we’re seeing an uptick in civility.
And we’re glad for it. We grew tired of the rudeness, the pettiness and are happily embracing a return to decorum after midterm elections. Not counting Kari Lake, Arizona’s GOP candidate for governor who is questioning the legitimacy of the election she lost, we’ve heard many dignified concession speeches. It’s feeling old school, the gracious loser.
U.S. House candidate Adam Frisch called Lauren Boebert to concede. Frisch said he was proud of his campaign. “We do not have to let hate win, but we can come together and talk about issues that are important to individual lives in our communities,” he said. “We have more in common than we differ.”
In his concession speech, Frisch said he supports conducting the recall to show the reliability of Colorado’s election system, but he also didn’t expect it to yield new results.
“Colorado elections are safe, accurate and secure,” said Frisch, adding it would be unethical for his campaign to continue accepting money from supporters. “Please save your money for your groceries, your rent, your children and for other important causes in organizations.”
Grace ruled in other races around the country, too. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat who lost his Senate race in Ohio said it was a “privilege” to concede to winner J.D. Vance, a Republican.
“When you lose an election, you concede,” Ryan said. “You respect the will of the people. We can’t have a system where, if you win it’s a legitimate election and if you lose someone stole it.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Tim Michels, the Republican businessman who supported some of former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, conceded the Wisconsin governor’s race to Gov. Tony Evers, the Democratic incumbent. “I wish the Evers family well,” Michels told supporters.
And Republican Tudor Dixon, who challenged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, initially refused to concede. Then, Dixon reversed course and called the governor to wish her well.
Now, this is embracing nicely the rituals of losing – and with class, civility and dignity. To the point that we’re wondering, could 2022 politicians be actual role models for soccer moms, dads, coaches and fans?
Granted, most soccer parents in the Southwest are well-behaved. But in other parts of the country, they shamelessly berate referees, yell at players and each other. It sure takes away the fun. And forget about modeling good sportsmanship.
That rotten minority sure can be loud. Just like in politics before our recent, post-midterm election switch to better behavior.
Now, if we could just get those soccer people on board.