“Your kid sucks by the way!”
“Hey, you can’t name call people!”
Both of these quotes came from the same out-of-town hockey father at a recent minor hockey tournament in Leduc.
One member of the opposing team’s bench had already been thrown out of the rink for repeatedly cursing at the young referees before this jerk stepped in to take his place.
At high levels of minor hockey yes, winning is important. And yes, playing hard is important and yes, standing up for your team and your teammates is important. But if you lose the game or even the gold medal it’s not the end of the world. It’s not the Olympics.
Neither the Leduc team or their opponents were playing any dirtier than the other, and there was a lot of shoulder pushing, jostling and general pettiness. With so much just brewing under the surface it’s no wonder the refs couldn’t see everything that was going on.
But even if they did miss a call a full grown man should — the important word being “should” — know better than to yell obscenities at a child and tell them how useless they are.
One, it’s not going to make any difference to game play. Two, if he was a good parent he’d be focusing on his son and positively encouraging smarter game play to combat whatever injustices he felt the refs were dolling out; and three, he only ended up making himself look like a fool who practically had to be escorted out of the arena by employees. Although, not nearly soon enough.
If I was his child and I’d seen that I would have been embarrassed to call that man father.
When the father of the young referee heard what was going on (and stepped in) things went from bad to worse.
At least the second father was only defending his son rather than verbally attacking a child but both sounded like overgrown three-year-olds with bad language. There was a lot of blustering and growling, swearing and fist shaking with no actual intelligence anywhere in the argument.
When two employees had to get involved the refs’ father smartly backed off but the father of the player just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. When one of the employees told him he was acting like a three year old the man became even more indignant and claimed it was inappropriate to call names.
In recent years many sports leagues — especially at younger ages — have been moving toward a no score, no winners, no losers model. I’m of the belief it’s parents like that man who have largely contributed to the need for such an absurd idea.
In life there are winners and losers and children need to learn the lesson that no matter how hard they they work they’re not always going to be the best. That lesson, and learning how to pick themselves up after they fall, with grace, is far more important than being given a participation medal.
But with parents teaching their children it’s okay to bully your way through life if you don’t like what’s going on, and that winning is always the most important thing, there is going to be the unfortunate need for counter-measures.
Amelia Naismith is the new reporter for the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer. She writes a regular column for the paper.