Daniel Kligerman

Me, on the web

Hockey Parents

Last week, the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA) launched a public service campaign designed to educate the public about obnoxiously overenthusiastic hockey parents, entitled “Relax, it’s just a game”. The gist of it goes like this: Some kids have parents who come to their hockey games only to scream and swear at them, at the referees, and at the coaches. Apparently the motivation behind this behaviour is the parent’s deep-down belief that their kid is surely to be the next Great One, if only the proper dosage of motivation is supplied.

Don Cherry, on Coach’s Corner last Saturday night, claimed that this campaign is merely the CHA’s way of justifying its existence, and that hockey parents are “the best people in the world”. As Grapes sees it, there are a few “kooks” who exhibit the behaviour the CHA warns against, but to imply that hockey parents in general behave this way is just plain wrong.

The resulting debate has consumed an astounding amount of time on the airwaves and space in the newspapers of the country.

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, hundreds died and a thousand were injured due to riots spurred as a result of issues surrounding the “Miss World” contest, originally scheduled to be held there. In one incident, an independent newspapaer’s offices were burned to the ground because of a controversial opinion they printed regarding the contest.

How’s that for overenthusiasm?

There are two lessons I think we should take from this: First, we should consider ourselves fortunate that in our country, a “serious” issue is distasteful and counter-productive hockey parents, and that we are able to debate the issue in a mature and non-violent way. Second, perhaps we should keep in mind that because of our good fortune, we could dedicate a little more of our time, thought, and energy to do what we can to improve matters in parts of the world where “Relax, it’s just a game” doesn’t fly.

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