PARENTS AND FANS

Parents and fans are an important part of women’s lacrosse. These individuals not only provide encouragement at games, but they often provide critical support to teams and individual players. WWLOA encourages spectator attendance and enthusiasm at games. At the same time, WWLOA reminds spectators that their behavior should be respectful and consistent with the rules.

Spectator Rules

The rules for women’s lacrosse include the following requirements pertaining to spectators:

Spectator Behavior

As identified above, the rules for women’s lacrosse include only limited requirements regarding actions of spectators. However, the behavior of parents and fans can have a significant effect on the atmosphere of a game, as well as an effect on the players, coaches and officials. This effect can be positive or negative.

In 2010, Lucia Perfetti Clark, then Manager of Officials Training and Umpire Development for US Lacrosse, addressed the topic of spectator behavior in response to an “Ask as Expert” question in the US Lacrosse Parent Newsletter. Her comments are informative and applicable to all spectators at a lacrosse games. The following are excerpts:

“It’s important to keep in mind that, as a parent, your behavior in the stands, and with officials, sets an example for players and other spectators. Both good and bad behavior can be contagious. The golden rule is always a good general starting point for communication with anyone. Most officials are just like you: they have a regular full-time job, they love the sport of lacrosse, and they commit time, resources, and energy to ensure that your child has a safe environment to play in. While ability level of officials will vary, all officials have to start somewhere, and that somewhere may be the game you’re watching.

“If the officials on the game you’re watching are US Lacrosse members, they have been trained by veteran officials, both in the classroom and on the field. Spectators cannot say the same thing for themselves regarding spectator training, anyone can watch a lacrosse game, and this is something that officials keep in mind when spectators are critical from the stands.

“Spectator Don’ts: before you think about shouting something critical at an official at the next lacrosse game you attend, consider the following:

a. What was your view of the play, versus the official’s view? In general, the official is much closer to the play than any spectator. Officials are also constantly moving to be in the best position and angle for viewing where common fouls occur.

b. Do you actually know what was called? Do you recognize the signal, and do you understand the rule, its application, and the context that it applies in the game scenario you are watching? These are all things officials consider when making calls.

c. You came to the game to see a team, or a child, and you have an interest in seeing that child or team be successful. The official did not arrive with that bias. Officials arrive at each contest knowing that both teams are worthy of their best effort, and when they go home, they often can’t remember the score, or even sometimes who won.

“You’re probably wondering when can you talk to an official? Certainly saying thank you as they are leaving the field, or being complimentary is always welcome; it is a nice perk to the job. If you are in control of your emotions, and are curious about rules or calls, asking officials questions appropriately after a contest is a great way for spectators to learn, and for officials to share their in-depth knowledge of the rules.

“You should never approach an official leaving a contest with a complaint or
hostility.

“Spectators have an important part in the game! They have the ability to make
contests lively and fun, or mean and contentious. Do your part to ensure a
positive experience for everyone.

“Hey, if you find yourself wanting to talk to the officials at every game,
COME JOIN US! Seriously, we have a lot of parents who make great officials.
Now is your chance, get the best seat in the house.” Lucia Perfetti Clark

Parents and Fans
Washington Women’s Lacrosse Officials Association
Box 255, 227 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 US
Phone: 425.123.5555