Crossing the line as a player also deals with how you interact with your opponents and your teammates. We all know that everyone out on the field is competitive and wants to win. Sometimes this means that people just get a little too competitive. Sometimes other players provoke you (intentionally or not). When this happens, it is important to make sure that you don’t cross line. Rather than react to the opponent that is needling you, rise above it and be the bigger person. Getting mad and using slurs or bad language against your opponent isn’t going to help. In fact, it just tells them that they have succeeded in getting under your skin. You’re so focused on them that you have forgotten to focus on yourself and how you are playing. By reacting to your opponents and getting involved in verbal and/or physical confrontations with players on the other team you are essentially doing their job for them by throwing off your own game. Make sure that you don’t cross the line, instead ignore the things that are said to you. Be positive in your interactions with your opponents, and focus on helping your teammates out. If something happens that really offends or upsets you, tell your coach, or the referee and make sure that the person who crossed the line knows that what they did was wrong! Remember that the referee is there to help to police the game, they can be a great help when it comes to dealing with disrespectful opponents!
So what does it look like to cross the line as a player? Well let’s start with the easy example. I am of course talking about interacting with referees. Picture this, it’s the heat of the game, it’s a tight game, you’re working hard, and suddenly the referee makes a bad call! What do you do? It’s the referee’s fault that now you’re going lose the game! You’re mad, you’re angry, you’re upset! So you start yelling at the ref, telling them that they are the worst, that they stink at their job!
But yelling at the referee isn’t going to do you any good. In fact, it just makes you look bad. If you go far enough, it could even get you kicked out of the game, hurting your team even more than the bad call did. Instead of yelling at the referee, focus on what you can control. Control the controllables, you can’t control the weather, you can’t control if the ref will make the make right call or not, sometimes you can’t even control the way that the ball bounces. All you can control is how you’re playing, and how you react to any of these challenges. By focusing on playing your best and trying and overcoming these challenges rather than losing your temper anytime something goes against you, you’re actually going to probably have a better impact on the game than just yelling at the referee for messing up would have. Plus, you’re going to look a lot better in the eyes of your teammates, fans, parents, and coaches, all while setting a great example for everyone else on the field.