5 for Friday: Go Ask Daddy About Parental Punishment, Automobile Bits and Van Halen Hits

I’ve never been to a cock fight. Or a dog fight.

But, I’ve seen plenty of youth soccer.

For all the shouting for blood there, though, there usually isn’t a cash payout. Well, there usually isn’t a threat of a police sting to break up the fun, either. But maybe there should be.

I told my team to warm up with my oldest daughter, Elise, while I had a quick parents meeting.

One girl stepped up with a request: “Can you please ask them to stop yelling at us on the field?”

Today’s batch of questions has a bite to it, from growling parents to sharks and piranhas (they’re an obsession in my house) to David Lee Roth.

1. Can parents get carded?

Technically, no – but I’m in favor of placing them in time-out.

The FIFA laws of the game dictate that only players can draw yellow or red cards for misconduct. Not even a coach can get one, although we can be sent off. Not that one ever should, in youth soccer. It’s as if we’ve forgotten why we’re there in the first place: To foster a child’s love for the beautiful game, while teaching them skills and setting an example of how to handle the highs and lows life tosses at us.

Parents who berates an official, their own child, their children’s teammates or the opposition (including players, parents and coaches) clearly are in need of a hobby.

The American Youth Soccer Organization holds Silent Saturdays every year. It’s a game day devoid of cheering from the parents’ sideline, and coaching the other. It’s not easy. I don’t yell much, but I do like to encourage and remind players of their positions. Not on Silent Saturday, though. I’m all for it.

2. Will a piranha jump out of the water to eat something?

If he did, would he get a red card?

According to a story on komonews.com, a fisherman in Arlington, Wash., late this summer caught a pacu, a relative of the piranha, at Lake Ki. The pacu, a herbivore with dagger teeth, jumps out of the water to – get this – break.nuts. Are you kidding me? A vicious, sharp-toothed fish, who eats nuts?

That’s … nuts.

That’s like LeBron James settling for layups. Or, the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, bunting every at bat. Or, Jennifer Lawrence, wearing a moomoo.

It just ain’t nat’rul.

3. Brakes have shoes?

Yep. And that’s not all.

  • Cars have hoods
  • Tables have legs
  • Potatoes have eyes
  • Planes have noses
  • Combs have teeth
  • Bottles have necks
  • Downtowns have hearts
  • Cyprus trees have knees
  • Christmas trees have skirts
  • And some sidelines have rear ends

Brake shoes are a component of the brake lining in cars that use drum brakes. So, brakes also have drums, in fact. The brake lining is glued or riveted to the shoe, which presses it against the inside of the drum when you, as they say in the south, mash the brakes in your car.

Or, you can do like this guy.

4. How many teeth does a shark have?

Bet you didn’t think this one would come down to math, but according to sharkwatchsa.com, it’s elementary, my dear Grace:

Rate of tooth loss X average life span of the shark = how many teeth in a lifetime

At last (and very fast) count, a great white sports about 24 visible teeth. Behind those are about five rows of developing teeth, ready to spring forth should Sharky McSharkbreath lose one or two on his next seal attack.

Either way, you’re going to take a considerable chomp.

Like, worse than a pacu on a cashew.

5. What songs does Van Halen sing?

I’m a right-leaning, heterosexual carnivore, so this applies to the David Lee Roth era only. Sammy Hagar, who took over as Van Halen’s lead man in 1985, was cool, but Van Halen without David Lee Roth is like LeBron James taking layups. Or Jennifer Lawrence in a dodgers jersey.

Just ain’t nat’rul.

Van Halen’s songs, including Jump, You Really Got Me and Runnin With the Devil (which, fittingly, played on the radio just before Marie’s cross-country debut) are among the hits of their heyday, roughly the mid 70s to mid 80s, most often played today.

I’ll leave you with a video of the most memorable song from my youth, mainly because I was 13 years old. This song (and video) left me with more questions than answers about the world.

And if that ain’t a bite in the nuts from a pacu, I don’t know what is.


  1. It’s tough to find that balance in parenting on the sideline. The pull to be fiercely protective or overly encouraging is so strong. Earlier this summer I was running a mile with my then 3 y/o at a track meet. I kept asking her if she was ok, how she was feeling. Her response? Mom, why do you keep asking me that. What she was really saying? Shut up & let me run. So I did. And she laid out a blazing fast time. Sometimes we just have to let go & watch it unfold.

    Like, worse than a pacu on a cashew. Best line in this post.

    1. Yes, you’ve nailed it. A kid will surprise you, too. There are so many players we’ve had you might not expect to score a goal, but when you give them that chance, and enough encouragement, they’ll often rise to the occasion, and the game will never look the same.

      I never, ever ask if a player or my kid is ok. If they’re not, they’ll tell me!

      Pacu on a Cashew. Should be a band playing in a seedy joint, shouldn’t it? Or the name of my fantasy football team next season.

  2. laurie27wsmith says:

    Quite the mix this week Eli, nut eating piranhas, toothy sharks, van Halen, and Fred Flintstone. What more could you ask for?.

    1. I’m telling you, the kids bring it. Perfect for a Friday (or Saturday, for you), isn’t it?

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Late Friday night and Eli, you can’t keep blaming the kids on this one.

      2. I thought it was tomorrow, there, dude, like, today.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        it’s tomorrow here now today. I think we’re about 15 hours ahead of your central time.

      4. Well, happy Saturday then, mate.

      5. laurie27wsmith says:

        Thanks Eli, it’s 8pm now, at a wedding and waiting for desert.

      6. Congratulations man! Holy cow … that’s one lucky girl.

        Hey wait … you’re a guest, right? Not the groom?

      7. laurie27wsmith says:

        A guest and man I didn’t want to be there. It was a second time around for a middle aged couple and they had all the trimmings. Which means waiting a long time for the food. Cruel and unusual punishment I say.

  3. Re; The Nut-Eating Fish…

    I did a post not long ago about a “nut-eating” fish in Denamark or Norway or some place like that.

    But it wasn’t eating pecans or cashews, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
    Out of respect for Eli and his readers, I will not link to it.

    You can thank me later. 🙂

    1. Thanks brother. I found lots of videos … of all sorts of animals being destroyed by piranhas. Although it made me hungry, I figured I’d go with something a little less, I don’t know, chew-intense.

      Yeah, those were no walnuts being chomped, that’s for sure.

  4. I have to say I don’t love silent sidelines. But then again, I’m not yelling at players on the field, coaches or refs. I’m more of the “yay, you team” type. I know I’m not perfect though. I don’t like bad sportsmanship, period. I do find though, when I’m taking pictures, I don’t do much cheering.

    1. Me either, but if I have to be quiet in order to quell the noise over there, I’ll do it. I’ll sacrifice. If it was all “yay, go team!” that’d be great.

      But it’s berating a 9-year-old like she’s supposed to be Alex Morgan. Or telling kids where to go and what to do. That’s my job. I have the T-shirt to prove it.

      Pictures taken while cheering are kinda blurry, right?

  5. Kim says:

    My 2 favorites today – “some sidelines have rear ends” and the super subtle way you worked Jennifer Lawrence into this post!!!

    1. Was it subtle? I didn’t notice!

      I just wish I had strategically place trap doors over there. 90 percent of parents are so supportive; I just hate seeing kids get reamed over a game.

      By the people who created them.

  6. It is sad that there is a need for silent sidelines. Isn’t sports supposed to be fun? Sometimes it sounds more stressful than enjoyable.

    1. It is – if only they could keep it to cheers. The worst thing: When a child is grilled for all they do that is wrong in their parents’ eyes.

      The game should be played with passion and love, but it is, in the end, a GAME.

  7. mamarabia says:

    I agree with Kim that the need for a silent sideline Saturday is kind of sad. But even with my six-year-old’s team, I see why it’s necessary. Luckily we’ve got a great team and a great coach this year. He really wants the kids to have fun. If any of the kids ask him if we won the game, his reply is always, “Well did you have fun? Because then you won!”

    1. You’re both right. If we could just tell them, “I love to watch you play … ” and leave it at that. You’re lucky with what you got. That’s what we try to do – because there’s a good medium between fostering in them that desire to work hard and get better, and remembering that it’s just a game, and should be fun to play.

  8. Rorybore says:

    The kids can talk on the field though for Silent Saturday….right? because if not, I am thinking it would never fly up here — at least where my 2 daughters are concerned. they can’t stop talking to even go the bathroom. literally. my oldest got up from the dinner table in mid convo with the younger and went to the bathroom…..Still Talking all the way to AND during the bathroom visit. and the youngest kept replying till she walked on back and sat down like she’d never left.
    It’s amazing, truly.

  9. Letizia says:

    Silent Saturdays – I love that idea. I actually think it could be applied to other areas of life as well. Mute Mondays at work, for example.

    1. Mute Mondays would be stellar! Followed by Taco Tuesday, Wine Wednesday, Taco Thursday, Fried Chicken Friday, Salsa Saturday and Steak Sunday.

      Oh wait – the rest of the week had to do with food, didn’t it? Never mind.

      1. Letizia says:

        Hahaha! You need a day that starts with a P so you can include pizza in there too!

  10. Dana says:

    As I was reading the songs you listed for David Lee Roth’s Van Halen, I was thinking, “Where’s Hot for Teacher?” Then I scroll down, and there it was! I loved that video when I was a kid, but I was a little disturbed by it today. As a mom, seeing those boys ogle a woman in a bikini…eewww. Still a great song, though.

    1. I had to get that song in. It was the Van Halen song that stirred me up the most as an adolescent. Like I said, more questions raised than answered.

      You’re right, it’s different as a dad, in 2013, of three girls. I considered not using it, but it was nostalgic. As my girls say when they watch snotty Disney kids, just because I watch it, doesn’t mean I’ll do it.

  11. i love the brakes have shoes list – cracked me up!

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