We love what we bring to the environment at Soccer Park.  The march in, the noise and smoke, the energy…the players feed off of it, and we’re proud of the job we do.  There’s no bigger moment of pride to hear from someone new: “I saw you guys across the field/on tv/in pictures and said ‘I want to be a part of that!’”.  The light-up drums, the singing and chanting…it’s attention-grabbing, and that’s the point.

Part of that environment is the behaviors that come along with it.  There’s a lot of beer.  It’s a staple of a supporters group.  And it’s consumed by adults, who use adult language at times.  The club doesn’t allow chants that curse, but after a goal against, a bad turnover, or horrible officiating, the words fly.  No different than at a Blues game or a Cardinals game.  There’s a sign posted outside our section warning people of the behaviors they’ll encounter in our section.  It’s PG-13 at best, often Rated R.

Many of us are parents, kids ranging in ages from toddlers to adult children.  A lot of us enjoy going to the games to get away from our kids, and a lot like to bring their kids and let them enjoy our brand of SiLLy.  And we encourage both.  I’ve done both. So this isn’t a pro- or anti-children post.  It’s a common sense reminder.

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As the season goes on, we want to remind parents to be aware of their children at the events.  There’s a lot of people in our corner, and common sense needs to be exercised.  Lately, kids are running up and down the stairways, or using the hand rails as jungle gyms.  This is a safety issue for both them and us; you can’t do this at a Cardinals or Blues game without an usher interjecting.  There’s no reason to allow it at the Park.   So if your kids are at the game with you, sporting event rules still apply.  Just because we’re rowdy doesn’t mean you don’t have to be responsible for your children.  I personally interacted with a kid a few games ago who was out of control and ran into me and bounced off. Section 8 isn’t a playground; if they’re in the stands, they need to be IN the stands.  People will tell them to knock it off, and are right to do so. If your kid complains that someone told them to knock it off, we’re going to support the adult based on what we’ve been seeing.

And it’s not just kids…adults too. Keep the pathways clear.  We need to keep the area between the stands and the signage bordering the field clear.  That’s a walkway for the other sections to use, and more often than not, it becomes clogged with people and kids hanging out, watching the capos.  The capo’s aren’t clowns to entertain; they’re leading chants.  A capo isn’t the show, the show is what’s on the field.  So let’s keep that walkway clear so the drummers and capos can communicate and keep the enthusiasm high.  

I get that the big war drum is super cool, and kids want to beat on it.  Hell, I do! But it’s not a toy, it’s an expensive piece of musical equipment.  Ryan, Dave, Ramon, and the drum corps put a lot of time, money, and effort into our equipment. It’s something that’s awesome, and we want to keep it that way.  You might see a player in street clothes playing it, or another special guest to the corner.  Because it is a special thing. Asking if your kid could bang on it or getting in the way of it is a problem.  It’s disrespectful to our guys who work hard every game keeping the corner rocking.  Instead of getting in the way, throw a dollar or two into the drummer beer fund and enjoy what we’re doing to make the corner fun.

picture by Jason Patrylo

picture by Jason Patrylo

We don’t hate kids, we welcome them.  There’s a lot of great kids in our group and we love having them.  It’s awesome seeing them singing the songs loud and proud.  It’s usually not the kids’ fault that they’re out of line, it’s the parents needing to keep an eye on them.  I hope that most of these incidents are “tourists” who bring their families over to watch the spectacle.  We’re not babysitters, we’re not kid haters.  But don’t send your kids over unwatched.  This is just a reminder that it’s still a sporting event and courtesy and common sense still applies as it does at Scottrade or at Busch.  If your kids can’t stand still in the stands, have them hang out down by the scoreboard.  There’s a lot of room and it’s not in the way.  Better yet, there’s an entire family zone over on the other side, with bouncy houses and games.  They can run around and burn off energy without any issue. 

Little Louligans, big Louligans, overweight middle aged drunk louligans…we don’t care who you are as long as you participate and bring it.  No dues, no membership, just show up.  Make noise.  Have fun.

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2 Responses

  1. Corner Security

    It’s pretty difficult on the ushers having to babysit as well. There is a lot going on during the match we need to be observant of. Kids grabbing ice meant for the drummers and capos every few minutes. Playing under the bleachers is also very dangerous. Have fun out there fans young and old!

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  2. Steve Coenen

    Love the Louligan passion at the STL FC games! Totally agree with your post – very common sense and reasonable. I see some kids at WWT Park being properly supervised by parents, who are attentive and are at least in the general area where their kids are located. I have no issue with supervised kids. Other kids seem to be on their own and running amok, not just in the Louligan’s corner. Like you all, I don’t ‘hate kids’ either – but when a kid (or worse, mob of kids) is endangering themselves or others, running into people, sitting in seats that are not theirs (common problem in the Family Arena too), grabbing other people’s property, etc. those children need to be apprehended by stadium staff and reunited with their parents or whoever brought them to the game. The parent/relative/whoever should then get a STERN warning from stadium staff or police to keep control of the kid (immediately) or potentially be asked to leave the stadium. Unless the kid was in a fight or something more serious, give the kid and parent/whoever a chance (one chance) to comply. I see ‘event staff’ standing around, are they supposed to help deal with these ‘wild kid’ issues? What about the county police who are there?

    Ultimately, if you are a parent and bring your kid(s) and/or kids’ friends to the game – wonderful. The team needs all its fans at games. I love young kids learning to appreciate soccer. Do Your Job during the game and keep your kids under control. If your kid(s) get out of control, take responsibility and address the issue, and leave early if you have to. The stadium is NOT your babysitter (just like the zoo or amusement park is not your babysitter). If you don’t want to watch your kids, leave them at home (with grandma or competent child care as appropriate). Please.

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