On the Other Hand: Sometimes (Parental) Silence is Golden

Hi Readers — Here’s a piece about something I’d never heard of, “Silent Sunday.” (Of course, maybe it would be hard to hear about something silent.) The post about it comes from Cindy Wilson, communications director at Playworks, an organization that provides play and physical activity to low-income schools in urban cities. Playworks is hosting its  Play On Conference in New York October 12 – 13, bringing together some of the country’s top experts on recess, play and physical activity. (I’m going!) Wilson is also the assistant coach of a U12 girls soccer team.  Here’s her piece:

THE SOUND OF SILENCE by Cindy Wilson

Walk past a soccer field on any given game day and you’ll be overwhelmed with parents shouting instructions from the sidelines, screaming directions to their kids, telling the players to pass the ball, shoot, run fast! The funny thing is that if you ask the players what they hear, all they’ll tell you is that they hear a bunch of parents shouting. Ask them if it helps, they will snicker and say no. Does it sometimes embarass them? You bet.

Next weekend, September 25 and 26, it’s going to be a bit different in Oakland, California. Parents, coaches, managers and players on the sidelines for Rockridge Soccer League games will be doing something unusual. They will be quiet.

As part of its annual Silent Saturday and Silent Sunday, everyone on the sidelines is asked to remain silent during games, while players on the field are allowed and are encouraged to speak to one another. No instructions, no directions, no cheering (yes, you can clap if your team scores), no call-outs (except for substitutions) for two beautiful game days next weekend. The only sound will be that of the players doing what they signed up to do ~ playing soccer, running hard, working as a team and figuring it out on their own.

Silence is golden. — C.W.