Funny story. Actually, it’s a pretty shocking story…
I was at a U-16 hockey game this past weekend at the rink close to where I work. I like to watch pretty much any hockey game at any level, as I just loved that sport no matter if I’m watching an NHL game or if I’m watching a squirt team. I witnessed what was the most ridiculous thing ever, and quite frankly, I just couldn’t believe what I saw. The home team was up 5-3 going in the 3rd period, and just like in many other minor league game, parents were yelling at the referees because he blew a couple of calls. The visiting team then came back and tied the game with 2 quick goals. Needless to say that the intensity was ramping up on the ice….and in the stands. Parents were cheering louder and louder on both sides and parents from both team kept yelling more and more at the referee for blown calls (in their totally un-biased opinions, of course). After the referee called a penalty on the visiting team, one of the dads from the home team and one of the dads of the visiting team started arguing with each other while being seated 2 sections appart. These guys (both clearly over 45 years old) were going at it, calling each other out, like 15 year old kids would do. I just couldn’t believe it.
This stuff really is happening!
Fast forward to the end of the game; the visiting team is winning 6-5, the clock runs out and the kids on the ice all start fighting. As the referees was trying to separate everyone, one of the kids from the home team comes out of the the pack holding a kid of the other team by the head in a choke-hold, turns around to face the crowd and waves to his parents…and his parents actually cheered while the kid was still holding the other kid in a choke-hold. Remember, this is a U-16 team, and what makes it even worse is that it was a Tier 2 organization!
Ridiculous. Plain and simple.
Seriously, where is that going to end? We’ve been hearing for many years now how parents don’t always behave when attending youth hockey games, but I guess I just never realized how bad it is now. How are kids suppose to behave when they see their parents being aggressive and immature in the stands while they’re playing? I just don’t get it. Acting like a moron when you attend your kid’s minor league hockey game is not going to make them better; it’s not going to make them a better athlete and it certainly is not going to make them a better person. How do you think your kid will see your behavior? He will think that it’s acceptable to act like an asshole; he will think that offensive language and violence are the way to solve problems.
We have a problem as a society. Sports are supposed to teach you good behavior, discipline, sportsmanship, respect and most of all the fun of playing sports. With the way parents are acting more and more, none of these values are being transmitted to kids playing sports. Where is that going to lead us when these kids grow up and have kids themselves? We need a serious reality check. Something is wrong right now in youth sports that needs to be fixed.
Being involved a lot with kids and sports as a strength coach, I am very concerned with that situation. In what we do as strength coaches, we want to help kids become better athletes, but whether we like it or not, we have a responsibility to transfer good values to these kids. Discipline, sportsmanship and respect; those same values they are supposed to learn in their sporting organizations and at home, we are responsible to reinforce during all the time we spend with these kids. But if they’re not even getting those values from their teams and parents, we have a tough situation to overcome.
Food for thought.