It’s Easter Sunday and one of my all-time favourite movies is the Hollywood epic The Ten Commandments. What’s not to like with plagues of locusts, rivers turned to blood and the parting of the Red Sea? Or Edward G. Robinson as Dathan? “Where’s your Messiah nooowwww (see)?!”
All of this got me to thinking about commandments for hockey dads and moms. So I grabbed my trusty stick, donned a flowing multi-coloured robe, grew a healthy amount of facial hair in record time and climbed to the top of the stands at a local arena where I came upon a burning net. Here I faintly heard a chorus of low deep voices echoing over the PA system. The Hockey Gods (who do as it turns out happen to have a Twitter handle), in their all-knowing wisdom, decried the following list of strongly worded shalts and shalt nots, which I’ve been instructed to share with you here,b my fellow hockey parents.
1. Thou shalt not try to relive thy childhood hockey career through thine children. Thou had thy chance, now just let the kids play would ya.
2. Thou shalt keep thy opinions about other parents’ children to thyselves. Yes, we all know the kid should PASS THE PUCK, but there’s no need to shout it at the top of thy lungs.
3. Thou shalt not let your children wear jersey numbers 99, 66 or 87. Even numbers 4 and 9 are a stretch, but allowed with understood deference to Mr.’s Orr and Howe.
4. Thou shalt pick up thine own children from practice on time. The coach is not a babysitter and should not be made to wait for you to finish your grocery shopping or mani/pedi appointment.
5. Thou shalt not demand or allow thy children to play hockey 12 months of the year. Kids must be allowed to be kids and engage in a wide variety of sports and other activities in order to ensure well rounded development as athletes and people.
6. Thou shalt not grill thy children in the backseat of thy minivan on the way to or from the arena. Leave the coaching to the coach, otherwise ye will most likely contradict said coach and confuse your young impressionable athletes.
7. Thou shalt not offer monetary or any other form of compensation for goals, lest ye turn thy children into the targets of the parents previously referenced in Commandment #1.
8. Thou shalt do thy best to not shout at the referees. I myself may have challenged this commandment a time or two, but I’ve come to realize the folks in stripes are doing the best they can and generally don’t get paid nearly enough to put up with our catcalls.
9. Thou shalt not embarrass thy child. Cheering along at appropriate times during a game along with the rest of the parents is ok, but frilly costumes, more than one cow bell or giant pictures of thy child’s head are generally frowned upon.
10. Thou shalt put fun ahead of everything else, which it should go without saying is in the best interest of thy children.
These are the words of the Hockey Gods…yea verily. So they are written, so they shalt or shalt not be done.
Ten Commandments image courtesy http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/the-ten-commandments/laws-of-god
Is it just me or is there more talk than ever about how badly my fellow hockey dads and moms are behaving? I, like most who have been to a minor hockey game or two, have witnessed hockey parent lunacy first-hand. And yup, I’ve seen a couple ejected from the building. With full disclosure I will readily admit I’ve yelled at a ref or two in the last 12 years, but I’d like to think I know where to draw a line where actual abuse is concerned. You would think by now these people would realize they’ve become walking/talking stereotypes, but the stories of excessive coach, ref and kid abuse of the verbal and sometimes physical variety just keep popping up year after year. Now it appears some jurisdictions have had enough and are seriously standing up and taking notice.
Hockey parents in Newfoundland and Labrador have just been told they need to take a course on respect on the heels of the same parental edict recently being issued in Edmonton. The number of comments around each article is testament to how contentious an issue this is. There are plenty of people who resent having to be punished for the actions of a few others.
Do you think this will curb bad rink behaviour? I get it conceptually, but not sure if it will really deter the primary offenders who will likely continue to be the boorish asses (yup, I said it) they’ve always been at hockey or otherwise. I’ve seen the same parents at minor soccer and junior football games. A more effective solution may be for Hockey Canada to sign on someone like PetSmart as a corporate sponsor get a bulk discount on muzzles. Or maybe more zero tolerance based permanent suspensions are required. I suppose, if nothing else, the associations who have taken their preemptive actions are putting a bigger spotlight on what is obviously a festering issue among arena dwellers; whether the courses serve to fix the the problem or not. Heightened awareness is generally never a bad thing.
Coincidentally, a friend just posted this great video giving a kid’s perspective on parents (not quite sure how I’d never seen it before. Now you would think something like this would have a lasting effect, but the video was made just over four years ago, there’s been plenty more written on the topic as noted and not much has changed.
Seems a couple of the items from my recent post with tips for new hockey parents was even more timely than I thought. Maybe if enough new parents are educated and reminded, yet again, that it’s just a game, it will start to sink in so the incidents we hear about each season are fewer and far between.
Chime in if you have any other ideas on how to cure Rink Rage.