Monday, 13 January 2014

Hockey Parent Syndrome

I try to get out to at least one game per season for as many of my athletes as I can.  This allows me to see them in action and see their movements and conditioning at their maximum effort.  It also just lets me watch more sports. :o)

Yesterday I went to watch our local Minor Midget AAA Red Devils vs. Clarington AAA.  I have a handful of players on the Red Devils that worked with me this summer, and one on Clarington.  Of course, I've been around the sport long enough, both as a Fitness Professional and as a player, so I know what hockey parents can be like.  Maybe I was just having one of those days where things annoy me more than others.  Or maybe it really is continuing to get worse rather than better? (Thankfully neither of these people were parents whose kids I worked with - PHEW!)

In the first period, I was standing at the top of the bleachers, and a woman set her bag down not to far from me.  She was also carrying her tablet.  A few minutes later she ended up chatting with a man on the other side of me.  This lady didn't stop talking. I actually don't think the man she was talking to was able to get a word in. LOL  Meanwhile, every shift her son was on the ice, she was recording his every movement with the tablet (while carrying on her long-winded conversation in a not so quite tone).  Of course, maybe she's just video taping her son for fun.  I know growing up, if we would've had the technology to do it, we'd love to see ourselves on video.  Having said that, maybe she's like some other hockey parents I've encountered where she videos every game and every shift so they can do a video analysis of this 15 year old when they get home.

Regardless, my issue with this was that her son is playing hockey right there in front of her (at a high level at that), and she was either too busy talking to this man beside me or watching him through her tablet screen.  What's happened to us??  Put the technology down, hold your 20min conversation until the period ends and watch your child play the game he loves!  (just my opinion).

At the end of the period, I couldn't take much more of her talking (she now moved on to the other side of me and was chatting with 3-4 other people whom also weren't many words in), so I moved to the far end where there were less people.  It was there I had the pleasure of standing near two Clarington fathers who had no common sense/respect at all.  The stereotypical hockey Dad I guess.

These two guys almost every time they opened their mouths were saying the F-word.  Sure, I'm an athlete and I say it to, but I pick my spots and respect those around me.  These two were saying it while 3-4 year olds were playing around them.  There was another boy probably 7-8yrs old just below them.  Then these Dad's start yelling at a few of our Quinte boys for something they did on the ice (all part of the game of course).  All I can think of was what kind of an example are these people for their kids and others around them.  How is this fun?? Granted some of these boys will be heading to junior hockey next year, but regardless, they're 15 years old, and these two are "grown men".  Give me a break.

I totally believe that people can get into the game and yell "oh come on!" to the ref or other team, but don't drag it on.  And don't use profanity with kids around.  As a parent of a 5-year old, I'd love for my daughter to enjoy sports as I have my entire life;  but how can I teach her the joy of sports when parents in the stands act like this??  Support your child, pay attention to their game, and support their team, but do it in a respectful way and in a way that will teach them sportsmanship and love of the sport.

We need to make a change in our way of thinking.