Silence proves pitch perfect

October 14, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

Nicole Barnes watched her 5-year-old son score multiple goals Saturday morning during a soccer game and didn't shout a word of encouragement.

It was "Silent Saturday" this weekend during Hagerstown Area Youth Soccer League games. Parents only were allowed to cheer with noisemakers, and coaches were restricted to "silent encouragement," said Barb Ridenour, who coaches the Hurricanes, a team of 5-year-olds.

Ridenour patted her players on their heads to encourage them during their half-hour game at Fairgrounds Park.

Fans on the sidelines at one game blew kazoos as players scored goals.

A few times, parents and coaches slipped and called encouragement to the players.

Caleb Barnes, 5, likes soccer.

"I run very fast and play very good," he said. "It's a good sport for me to run."

Caleb likes soccer even more when fans aren't cheering loudly on the sidelines.

"It's very noisy whenever they cheer," he said.

Ben Ridenour, 5, also liked it quiet because it was easier to talk to his teammates, he said.


Caleb and his teammates were allowed to cheer for each other. Ridenour noticed her team cheering more for each other from the sidelines, she said.

The players also were passing the ball more on their own without her instruction, Ridenour said.

Mackenzie Wincovitch, 5, likes soccer because it gives her a chance to cheer for her teammates, she said Saturday morning.

Talking to her teammates was easier during "Silent Saturday," Mackenzie said.

Mackenzie's mother, Heather Wincovitch, said she thought "Silent Saturday" was a good idea so the players could learn to support each other.

"It's hard not to cheer you child on," she said.

Nicole Barnes also thought "Silent Saturday" was a good way for the children to learn how to come together as a team. But it was hard, she said as she silently watched Caleb run down the field and score his fifth goal of the day.

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