Play nice…

I’m supposed to love hockey.  As uncanadian as this might sound… I didn’t grow up with it.  Never followed a single game on tv.  I never really attended a hockey game until Junior High… where I was more interested in hanging out with my girlfriends than anything else… and later I followed an old boyfriend’s games… but that’s about it.  He played nets.

Hockey gear arrived in our house when my son was five.  He didn’t take to the game immediately… he laid on the ice and made snow angels.  He walked through all of the drills as he couldn’t skate the length of himself… but funny enough… he followed the drill to perfection.  It didn’t take long, with the help of some wonderful coaches, til he got the hang of it.

We’re seven years into the game… and I’ve taken to really enjoying it.  I enjoy the parents on the team… enjoy watching the kids… the antics when they win and lose.  I love to watch my son play… see how he thinks.  But I will admit… when he is done… so am I.  With the exception of the Olympic games which I thoroughly enjoy…I won’t follow it anymore.

This weekend is the Play On tournament at the Halifax Commons… a street hockey tournament… our second year attending.  It’s well run… well attended… lots of kids and adults alike.  Today was the first day and we had an absolute ball.  We attended a tail gate party… ate french fries…. drank unlimited Powerade. Had our first Beavertails.  We watched lots of games and between the games the kids hung out at the playground.  They played soccer and ran around with other kids.  I enjoyed the day with friends… visiting with people I haven’t seen in years.  An enjoyable albeit long afternoon of chasing kids around and using portable toilets.  It was a good day.

The last game things got “chippy”.  It was late… kids were tired… parents were frustrated… long day.  But cross checking… slap shots… and parents getting out of hand… being rude and threatening coaches… it’s what takes all of the fun out of an otherwise enjoyable event.

I saw Referees being yelled at by parents during the day… more than once… it has to be difficult on them… in many cases they’re only kids.  In our final game, a player should have been removed from the game for his behaviour… but the calls weren’t being made… and the kids continued to get away with more and more.  It has to be hard on these refs to make the calls when parents are yelling at them… but so much worse if they don’t make it.  Safety is at stake.  It’s the parents who need to change… so the coaches can coach, the refs can do their job and everyone can have fun.

Year after year I see the hockey parents who take the game too far.  It’s exciting… no one wants a disappointed child… but it’s only a game.  Sadly I don’t think it will ever change.  The politics will always be there.  There will always be parents who take it too far… who feel their children do nothing wrong… who approach you and try to start something… act like goons.  Ruining it for the greater majority.

It’s been a long day.  We’re back on tomorrow… I’m looking forward to happy kids, fun times and pleasant parents.  I’m hoping the others will shake it off tonight… and stop ruining it for everyone else.  It’s only a game.

The Beavrtail was amazing!  Thank goodness we’ve made it to day two so we can get another.