A number of years ago, kids kicked balls in the street to entertain themselves and for the sheer enjoyment of the game. Nobody bothered to stop to watch them or admire their style. Certainly not the parents as they were happy to have them out of the way.
Now in this sophisticated age, things have changed immensely in this respect. Today, youngsters who play the beautiful game form teams, have their own colours and scarves and are federated. And what is more, their parents taxi them to their weekly matches. In Spain there are 20,000 of these events every week.
It would be presumed that the parents go to enjoy watching their kids play a fair game. But in their eyes, nothing is fair. And as can be seen from the games, the parents seem to know more than the referee. When not shouting foul insults, they are invading the pitch in form of protest. As soon as the whistle is blown the insults start.
Why do parents behave like this? Are they not supposed to be a reference for their children? Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that many believe that their kids are budding stars and are going to be the Messis and the Ronaldos of tomorrow.
Even if that is the case, does that justify their unruly behaviour? Only yesterday, during a match in the north of Spain, a young player had to stop the match because of the insults that were poisoning the atmosphere.
Now in the twenty-first century, adolescents are standing up to their parents in a way that one had never expected before.
This is a plea to parents to keep the beautiful game beautiful. And if that is beyond their power, remain at home and let your kids enjoy the game in peace!