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Wednesday
Aug192009

Hockey mom? No thanks.

I am Canadian.

I am Canadian and I don't want to be a hockey mom.

It isn't the early Saturday morning practices in a damp cold arena clutching my coffee mug that are deterring me. Not that I would particularly look forward to that, but if that was the worst of an otherwise rewarding and life changing experience for my child, I would suck it up. But what it comes down to is this: I don't think that being involved in hockey would be a life enriching experience for my children. If anything, I think it would have the opposite effect.

I am Canadian and I have committed blasphemy.

According to a National Post article by Wayne Scanlan (bold mine):
"We can no longer take it for granted that growing up in Canada means you're going to be in love with hockey, or with the NHL specifically," Bibby told Canwest News Service.

Until now, it has only been accepted that hockey has struggled to gain a foothold in Southern U.S. markets. Logically, hockey viewership is bound to take a hit from splintered audiences, even in Canada.

But for mothers and fathers not to sign their children up for initiation hockey programs? Now that is sacrilege.

Hockey registrations in Canada bear this out. Though an increase in female registrations (up nearly 40 per cent over the past five years) helps to soften the blow, boys hockey registrations are more or less treading water and are projected to trend downward, according to Hockey Canada models.

In a nutshell, there will be a smaller pool from which to draw players in the next five to seven years, and many of the eligible youth players have grown up with a soccer ball on their feet instead of a hockey stick in their hands.

I'm sorry, but I don't see it as my personal responsibility to feed the NHL, the NWHL, or even Team Canada their future star players.

When this was being discussed on the CBC this morning, they were saying that surveys in certain areas of Toronto that are heavily populated by immigrants found that only half as many children want to be NHL players as was the case previously (I don't recall what year they were comparing the current figures to and can't find it online). They found this troubling. Personally, unless the kids that no longer want to be professional hockey players have decided that they want to be drug dealers, pimps or white collar swindlers instead, then I don't see this as a problem. If those children want to be doctors, teachers, writers, scientists, politicians, aid workers, nurses, photographers, musicians, professors, or mechanics instead of professional hockey players, I see that as encouraging not discouraging.

Why?

  • The NHL and other professional hockey leagues glorify violence and glorify excess. It is a bunch of primarily white men being paid exorbitant amounts of money to pound the shit out of each other while perhaps also trying to get that little puck in the net.

  • Hockey requires a significant time commitment. One that would take away from family time, from free play time, and from studying. I think casual team sports can be rewarding, but am not impressed with the idea of our entire lives revolving around practice and tournament schedules.

  • It is pretty damn expensive. Especially at the rate that kids grow, to be buying a full set of equipment each year (even if bought second hand) and paying for travel to tournaments, ice time, league fees, and so takes much needed funds away from other things our family would like to invest in.

  • Jocks are often pompous jerks. A generalization perhaps, but there you have it.


I want my kids to be active, but I don't think that violent expensive team sports are necessarily the way to go. I'd rather focus on free play and developing creativity. If they want to shoot a puck around on the frozen lake or the community ice rink in the winter, then great. But if they do go into organized team sports, I would rather it be in non violent sports and ones that allow balance between the team and other aspects of their lives.

So to those from OneGoal that have their sights focused on recruiting kids in the four to eight year old range, please keep your hands off my kids. This mom doesn't want to be a hockey mom.

Related post: Harper's Backward Proposal: Critique of the Children's Art Tax Credit


Image credit: Paul Nicholson on flickr
« Public health care: Canadian perspective on myths and reality | Main | The Hippie Housewife talks behaviour modification »

Reader Comments (120)

[...] This post was Twitted by phdinparenting [...]

August 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTwitted by phdinparenting

Since having a baby boy six months ago, I am shocked by the emphasis on team sports. People give him stuff relating to football, basketball, soccer, hockey, etc. Too bad they don't have more chess-related toys and clothing for boys, lol.

August 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

Interesting.

I guess I'm a hockey Mom because my son plays hockey and LOVES the Toronto Maple Leafs. He plays house league hockey which means 1 practice and 1 game a week - it's not a big time eater. There is no phyiscal contact in his house league and the parents and kids are all very supportive and after four years there we've never had any problems. I think, like all sports, the more competitive you get the more problems you have, just join and stay with the general level stuff and you know what? It's fun.

Also, if your kid is going to school with typical Canadian kids? At some point he's probably going to want to try the sport. That's what happened to us, we moved back to Canada when my guy was nine and he played soccer for a year and then it was hockey, hockey, hockey.

Oh, and buy used equipment, it really doesn't cost that much.

Enjoy whatever you decide to do!

August 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeanne

hockey...who cares...and yes I am a full blooded very proud Canadian (I even have a Canada Day party).
You are right on the money - VIOLENT - offensively VIOLENT and I would never encourage my children to watch it or want to play it.
Of course I know that at lower levels there is not the same intensity of violence but we can all see what the goal is every "Hockey Night in Canada" which is not about goals at all.

@Leanne: I expect that if either of my kids really want to try hockey at some point, then I will let them. But I'll monitor it and place limits on it, like we do with any potentially detrimental influence.

August 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Bah.

You're insane. You're insane and off your meds. You're insane, off your meds, and probably a communist.

How dare you compare hockey, a sport of champions, highly skilled champions, with drug dealing? Who ever heard of a hockey player stringing out ho's and suburban high school kids? It's completely offensive. Hockey is played by nice kids who like to skate and who idolize Wayne Gretzky.

If you can't afford the equipment required to fulfill your duty as a Canadian mom, then maybe you should get a job. You'll have plenty of time to work when your kids are at practice, doing their sacred duty, and your kids won't need you to raise them: they'll have a coach.

The Tree of the Wrist Shot must be renewed from time to time with the blood of teenagers and tyrants. And if you don't raise your kids as hockey players you might as well just give Alberta to the Russians, because they're going to finish taking over when the good Canadian boys are no longer knocking them on their asses on the ice. Do you want the Russians to win? You do. I see you do.

Commie.

August 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBackpacking Dad

I think you'd have been sufficiently lyrical had you said I am Canadian and I have blasphemed. But that's cool, it's your call.

I never had the urge to play hockey while growing up in Canada. But both my parents are American. My little sister still plays on a Canadian Forces women's team. But her dad's Canadian so maybe that's it. Or she's a jock.

I tend to agree that if my daughter wants to play sports, I'll support it until it becomes a life eating obsession... and I'm glad for Backpacking Dad's comic relief!

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaroLyn

I am proudly Canadian and have tried not so successfully to hide my lack of hockey lovin. I don't really care for most team sports in general and I too believe that they are overpaid - I hate that they are not forced to give a major percentage of their sales and income to some charities.

So I too am proud that my kids enjoy the more individual sports or other ways to get fit and have fun.

oh no! my youngest just said she'd liek to try figure skating! Argh! Help!

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNiqi

I'm a hockey mom in waiting. Reid asked to sign up and I did it. Sometime in September, we'll start spending an hour or so, once a week at the arena. I'm pretty sure that her interest in hockey can be traced to the games we've watched her older cousin play. At 15, he is a rock star in her eyes. He skateboards, she has him push her around on his skateboard. He plays hockey, she wants to do so as well.

I'd like for Reid to enjoy hockey because it is a sport that you can play without regard to skill - from beginning house league to old timers, there are teams for everyone. If she hates it after a single season, we'll move on. My biggest fear is that she'll want to play on travel teams and, at that point, we'd have to discuss priorities and time commitments but for now, she can pursue this dream 1 hour a week.

Of course, I've consciously tried to keep her from being exposed to figure skating and dance ... We all have our opinions, eh?

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMom on the Go

Hear Hear!

We our expecting our first baby (a boy) in less than a week... and we are hoping desperately that he will not become a hockey-obsessed little boy. Neither my husband nor I even really know how to skate, and we don't watch TV, so it will obviously be up to our son to discover hockey on his own if he's really interested in it. I do not think it is my responsibility as a Canadian to enroll him in hockey at the age of four (seriously? FOUR????) to essentially force him to develop a love of the sport. I hope that when our son is four he will be interested in books, and playing in the backyard, not trekking to an arena twice a week to be told what to dream and aspire to.

I think the thing that disturbs me the most is the number of parents who enroll their children in hockey at an age so young that the decision can't possibly have been independent, and then spend the next 10 years hoping their children live out their own dreams of going pro. If my son decides on his own that he really wants to play hockey, I would be more than happy to buy the equipment, and go to the practices and games. But for anybody to suggest that it's my civic duty to bring him up to want to be an NHL star clearly has no real sense of priorities.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Maste

That's it.

I'm calling citizenship & immigration.

Seriously though, you make a good point. Hockey isn't the only (or best) way for kids to learn camaraderie and be active. I also think sometimes the coaches and other parents put far too much pressure on the children involved, exacerbating what is already a somewhat rough, at times violent, sport.

I also don't give a crap if the children of immigrants are not so interested in hockey -- there are many other rewarding things kids could be involved in. And national culture changes over time. That's the reality of living in a truly diverse country, where immigration is vital to our population maintenance and growth.

It's also vital to our society, in that groups of more diverse backgrounds and political leanings tend to make much sounder decisions in the long term. It's one of our strengths as a nation that we have so many people from so many different backgrounds under one roof, so to speak. If children's interest in hockey is one casualty of that, I ain't going to cry over it -- we've got better things to do as a nation than try to live up to a two-dimensional stereotype that seems to primarily exist for other countries' amusement.

(Of course, I am somewhat biased, being an immigrant myself.)

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthe fat nutritionist

Also, Backpacking Dad: I lol'd.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthe fat nutritionist

In my mind, I feel similarly about football -- it's very hard on a child's body and it is aggressive. I did see in a comment that you would let your kids play if they wanted to but you would limiti it "like any potentially detrimental influence".

What aan interesting question! I think this is why many parents end up homeschooling, to keep their kids away from "what the other kids are doing" because if my son is in junior high and all of his buddies are excited and trying out for football there is no way I will stop him. Instead, I guess I will plan aheadd.... when he is 4 or 5 I will enroll him in soccer and try to get him to fall in love with a different sport. A little more subtle!! But if football is his heart's desire, I will not stand in his way!

I guess parents do the same thing when it comes to gangs or drugs, they try to influence their kids at such an early age and provide good boundaries so that when the temptation of drugs and gangs is there during junior high (or whenever), the child makes their own positive choice to avoid those things.

It is true that parents decide if something is detrimental but if a child really wants to do something, has their heart set on it or loves it then what can we really do as parents??? If it's illegal, then of course, we have to stand firm. But if it's more of a preference or a lifestyle choice, then does our opinion turn into policy?

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlina

I'm not Canadian, but I feel the same about sports in general. Casual playing is great, but revolving your family's life around kids' sports is too much. I played sports and as much fun as it was, it also brought me a lot of misery. Things like not getting enough playing time, getting chewed out by coaches when we lost and typical teenage girl nastiness sent me home in tears many, many times.

If my kids want to play I will support them, but I hope to teach them that it's not the most important thing in the world.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Pfft. It's a sport. That's all. Just a sport. I don't find it in the least bit troubling that some kids don't want to play. If Canada is so wrapped up in hockey as a national identity, perhaps it's time for Canada to broaden her horizons.

If my daughter wants to try it, I'll sign her up. Same as soccer, t-ball, dancing, swimming, music lessons, horse-back riding lessons... If she doesn't, I won't. I try to expose her to variety as much as I can, and it's up to her to decide what activities she wants to try. I insist only that she moves her body on a regular basis.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJuliette

I'm not Canadian, but my son has already shown some interest in hockey because his preschool ice skates once a week before class. If he wants to do it, I'm inclined to let him, even though I'm not a big hockey fan myself. At least it means they are being physically active instead of sitting at home in front of the TV. I played sports in high school and between basketball, band and homework, I never had any time to get into trouble with the bad kids.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKayris

Hockey is a constant mental struggle in my mind. My husband grew up in a hockey family and has played his whole life. His parents entire social circle revolved around hockey for their four sons. My husband would certainly like his two son's to play...but neither is particlarly in love it or particularly talented. He works with them, but he's never obsessive. Now, they are only 8 and 6 but in the competitive hockey world apparently this is the age to start producing our future stars!

I often feel "out of the loop" in the school yard as other Mommies gather to talk about hockey tournaments and related hockey gossip!!! Then again I feel the same when soccer season rolls around. My boys both play house league soccer and hockey and mostly do so for fun, friendship and exercise. I think team sports are great...it's nice to win or loose with other kids!

Hockey is also part of the Canadian culture. I hope when my sons are teens they can head out to the local rink and play a game of shinny (pick-up) with their buddies. Hopefully it keeps them away from trouble and video games all day!

As with everything else in parenting playing hockey or any competitive sports is a choice...we all make the choice that we hope is right for our children and our families!

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMommy X

You had me, a hockey playing woman married to a hockey playing husband with a son who is not yet old enough but will probably want to play hockey because we are a sporty family, nodding slightly in agreement, thinking...hmmm...she has some interesting points...until you threw in the "Jocks are often pompous jerks. A generalization perhaps, but there you have it.". Jerks are pompous jerks. I've met many, not all are athletes. I was a "jock" in high school, still am. I'm far from pompous as were/are all my athletic friends, nor did any of us get violent on or off the court/field/track/etc.

While I hope my kids are into organized sports because of what they get out of it (team work, dedication, exercise, etc.) I'm fine if they aren't as well. There are MANY levels for kids to play at from rec to competitive, and you can get cheap equipment (used/Freecycle/hand me downs) so that's not a reason to avoid it.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I couldn't disagree more. Here's why:

1. We started taking the kids to our local outdoor rink wearing cheese cutters strapped to their boots at a young age (4 or 5?). We also brought hockey sticks and pucks. Sometimes the kids spent more time in the snowbanks than on the ice and sometimes the sticks and pucks were completely ignored but inevitably, we all came home having had a wonderful time and with the rosy cheeks to prove it.

2. I signed up my oldest for house league at the age of 9 (hadn't shown interest before) and it was an instant love affair. My second child soon followed. I was also fearful of all the hockey insanity we hear about and got involved in the team only to discover that house league was FUN. That's all, FUN.

3. In house-league, you're looking at 1 practice, 1 game per week. Team parents inevitably decide how much or how little they want the team to play and individual families do miss the occasional team event due to other commitments. This isn't a life sentence...

4. Cost of equipment? I don't know anyone who buys entirely new equipment every season! You shouldn't buy skates and sticks that kids will "grow into" but otherwise, most kids wear the rest of their equipment 2 and sometimes 3 seasons. And yes, go with used equipment-much cheaper. There's even equipment exchanges and the lovely concept of hand-me-downs...

5. Violence? I don't think so. Incidental contact happens, these are inexperienced players sometimes skating faster than their little legs can carry them. Watch any Timbits game and you'll see kids falling on their well-padded butts right, left and centre, along with the chain reaction as all the kids trip over each other and themselves... Then watch as they all pick themselves up, grinning from ear to ear, and get going again. You don't HAVE to sign-up your children for contact (as of bantam age for HL: 13 and up) any more than you HAVE to sign-up your children for a competitive team. Families are free to make decisions to suit their level of interest...

6. Are there idiots and fools and competitive parents at the rink? I would be lying to you if I said there weren't. After my experience on the bench as as assistant coach in two of Ottawa's biggest leagues however (3 years with boys, 3 years with girls), I can say without reservation that every team staff I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with has shown the utmost professionalism and kindness to the kids. Have doubts? Volunteer on your child's team to keep your eye on things as I did. I think you'll be impressed.

7. Have there been regrettable incidents in the years I've bee involved in hockey? Yes, frankly, a few. I've noticed that as the kids get older (as they hit their teens), some parents seem to be taking things too seriously. For every negative incident however (which was inevitably parent-driven and thankfully, took place well-away from the players and was handled properly by other parents, on-ice or team officials), I can tell you of several moments of achievement, pride, teamwork, fair play and personal development.

8. Why am I passionate about this subject? Because I started playing hockey at the ripe old age of 33. I was the first in my family to do so having never worn hockey equipment before. I didn't even know how to stop! I can't even being to tell you the life lessons I've benefited from by taking part in team sports for the first time in my life. And by the way, I'd rather see my kids going out to play pick-up with a bunch of friends than hanging out at the mall or in bars (but bars are WAY off in the future-gulp!)...

9. In the end, it's about YOUR attitude. If you remain positive, cheer on your team through good and bad, applaud the opposing team when they score and delight in every achievement, you will give your child, his/her teammates and other parents a great example of what it is to be a true hockey parent.

10. What's hockey given my family? Moments of happiness, friendship and pride on the ice for my oldest when dealing with bullying peers at school was a daily fact of life. Lessons on teamwork and good sportsmanship (even being happy to have lost to a particular team because they had had a bad year so far). Learning to love being active, learning to love a sport they'll be able to take part in forever. FUN.

All I can say is that I wouldn't trade those happy times on the ice, those many moments of pure Canadiana, the confidence I see in my kids' eyes when tackling any new physical activity and their healthy bodies, body images and minds for all the chess pieces and tennis balls in China. Just sayin'.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaola

Why does having your kid play hockey have to mean that you are feeding the NHL, the NWHL, or even Team Canada their future star players? It's also about playing a sport for the love of the sport and keeping our kids active because we all know what the obesity rates are. I plan to enroll my son in hockey, not because I hope he will eventually get scouted for the NHL, but because it's fun and exercise is good for him.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSkwm

Asa fellow Canadian with 3 boys, I couldn't agree more. We never watch hockey & (luckily) my kids have no interest in it. Even if they were interested, they wouldn't be playing since we have no car to drive them around to games and no interest/ability to spend all our extra money on equipment & fees.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I hear you Annie. My husband jokes that he wants his girls to be the next Hayley Wickenheiser (probably spelled wrong - sorry!) but when it comes down to it, a) we can't afford it and b) there's no bloody way I'm waking up that early every day to take them to practice. Yuck! Let the wealthy jock-type parents who live for that sort of thing enroll their kids. It's not for me either.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelodie

I never played hockey, neither did my sisters, nor my husband (although he follows it religiously on TV). And we don't plan on signing up our kids either, unless they specifically ask for it. Agreed with your why's - I also think there's a lot of excess, exorbitant amounts, and I always feel a pang when I hear of how exchanges are conducted, and think about those kids that get moved around left and right, and barely see Daddy.

Guess you're not alone! :)

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohanne

@Skwm: I was prompted to write this based on a discussion I heard on CBC, where they were talking about how declining interest in and participation in hockey in Canada was detrimental for the country, partly because we wouldn't be turning out as many star players. This was raised in the article I quoted:

In a nutshell, there will be a smaller pool from which to draw players in the next five to seven years, and many of the eligible youth players have grown up with a soccer ball on their feet instead of a hockey stick in their hands.

I'll encourage my kids to participate in things that they enjoy, in things that will not completely take over our family's lives, and ideally in things that are not violent.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Shannon: That comment was partly tongue in cheek and partly based on http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/08/01/the-bully-who-defined-me/" rel="nofollow">my experience in school. These days I would be considered a jock by some people's standards. I play women's basketball and co-ed ultimate frisbee. But I really don't like the way that the fighting in hockey is glorified in the NHL.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I am a proud hockey mom. My son plays hockey, has since he was 6 (which is the entry age in our community hockey league). He asked to play and we agreed. It is true it is an expensive sport that I can't deny. But my son loves it and I will support him as long as he loves it. We are not typical hockey parents, we don't watch hockey much so my sons interest in hockey comes from playing with friends, not from wanting to emulate NHL players. We don't want our son to play for the NHL, and trust me, he won't. But he gets lots of cardio exercise during a season when running and playing outdoors can be limited. He has made good friends and has learned about the benefits of discipline and practice. We have used these things as examples in other aspects of his life. I have always maintained that my only desire for my son when it comes to hockey is for him to have the choice (and the fitness) to play hockey when he wants to. My 30 year old brother who played house league hockey for 6 years now enjoys weekly pickup hockey games with friends. If my son did that, I would say everything we did when he was young was worth it. Even if he doesn't, it is still worth it.

My 4 year old has no interest in hockey and I support him in his choice.

Here in Canada I think we let crazy hockey parents (and they are out there) ruin it for us. We have to separate the crazy from the fun. Don't let rotten apples ruin the bunch. And there are rotten apples in every sport. I have seen them in Karate, in Gymnastics, in Baseball and Soccer. Let kids be kids, and enjoy the fitness they are interested in. If that happens to be hockey that's okay!

As an aside, my neighbours, 3 young women, were all professional hockey players, all played for team Canada. Two are now coaches at Carleton and one is a high school gym teacher and she coaches a young woman's team on the side. They are wonderful people. Kind, considerate and excellent role models for my kids. Jocks are definitely not always jerks.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChantal

Everything is what you make of it. We are going to run into aspects of things we don't like everywhere, no matter what sport, function and experience it is.

My son LOVES hockey. I don't like the insane competition (and violence once they are older) inherent in the sport. So I focus on what he loves, and make it into an experience that aligns with our values. I don't fuel the competition by pushing him, telling him to skate harder, faster... I focus on what he loves, and that is simply having fun. Do I cheer? Darn rights, I am cheering for his joy, not his ability.

I think we should be FOR whatever it is our children love and try to mold that experience to fit with family values. If we cannot find a way to make it work within our values, then we do not participate. We have found a way to make it work with hockey.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Thanks Michelle. I can appreciate your perspective and that of anyone else here that is supporting hockey. For me, it is not my cup of tea and there are aspects of it that don't align with my values and priorities. I don't object to other families doing what works for them. In this, as in other things, I will be supportive of my children if they go in a direction that is different from what I would have chosen, but I will communicate my concerns to them too and may impose limits if I have to. In any case, I don't object to other people playing hockey or having their kids play hockey, but I objected to the perspective of the people from OneGoal and other areas of the hockey elite suggesting that we as a society have a responsibility to feed the ranks of professional hockey players and ensure that hockey remains a priority for Canadian children.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Paola and Michelle I totally agree with your comments. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Backpacking Dad, you're hilarious!

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Your not the only one with these sorts of ideas! I wrote this post on organized sports in 2007. http://www.tinygrass.com/2007/07/sports-do-kids-really-need-them/

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

I totally agree with you about this.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjane

Brave post! So my take on hockey is this. If my son asks to play, we'll let him, of course. He's only 4, so we have not had to deal with this issue yet. The 6 a.m practice, though - and all that equipment - in the winter - makes me hope he actually never wants to play hocky. Interesting post, though. I don't really know how I feel about it. I feel proud to be Canadian, and one thing that is truly Candian is hockey, so hmmm? I must think about this longer!

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

I think @BackpackingDad called me crazy. So maybe I would fit in with the crazy hockey parents.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Maple syrup....more Canadian than hockey! Lots and lots of maple syrup. Yum!

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Great post Trish. I gave it a stumble.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Amen! Since we announced "It's a Boy!" 8 months ago there have been plans to make a hockey player out of our son. My husband is already feeling the pressure, but he doesn't enjoy watching team sports on television (yay!) and I don't think he's ever played hockey! I'm with you -- if my son grows up and wants to play, of course I'll give him every opportunity, but if he'd rather do something else, that's just fine!

By the way, I've only recently found your blog and I love it!

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbambam

Thanks! I always love to discover new readers.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

wow. looks like you're exactly the type of man she was talking about. also, try and read the article thoroughly before you start quoting her incorrectly. she never compared hockey players to pimps, you read the sentence incorrectly. oh, and you could start by being polite when you want to engage someone in dialogue and make a point. you discredit yourself right out of the gate.

commie?
really?

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

nice work. someone who has the guts to call it like it is. if people want to play hockey, that's awesome, get out on the ice and enjoy it but we can do without the culture that surrounds it, and goes for most of what professional sports offers society. a bunch of overpaid men with bad manners, worse values and overblown egos.

it shocks me how many human beings are so addicted to the ritual of sport that they'd rather sit on the couch in front of a television rather than spend time with their families and friends or enjoy the outdoors or other sports.

don't get me wrong either, i'm an athletic man, fit and healthy, and it's because i participate and enjoy sports and activities (we don't have television in our house) without the violence and absolute competitiveness that is trumpeted in the press and pushed down kids throats in some schools and leagues.

our daughter will be athletic, active and healthy because her parents are, and that's a lifestyle we believe in but she will never participate in a sport that dehumanizes the adversary or believes in punishing teammates because they didn't do well enough. that behaviour is unacceptable and belongs only in the past. and it's this type of behaviour that got this world into the mess it's in. egos, violence and a lot of stupid men (for the most part).

and there's nothing communist or anti-canadian about that!

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

Ummm, I think backpacking dad was being satirical...

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkathie

If you aren't already familiar with backpacking dad, it's difficult to pick up on the silly tone and his comment can easily be read as serious, as is was read by dustyz.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjane

I have a job. I just prefer to spend my money on beer and popcorn.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

i'll give BD the benefit of the doubt. not familiar with him or his tone.

if that was satire. nice one.
if not, my thoughts stand.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

Don't worry...it was all in good fun. He's a good guy.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

That's awesome. Now I can't figure out if I should have more or less hyperbolic. What I should have done was figure out a way to compare Annie to Hitler, because that would have been hilarious.

You're a credit to Annie's readership; when in doubt, smack the troll down. Good on yer.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBackpacking Dad

Been. Should have "been" more or less hyperbolic. Dammit. Where's the been when you need a been?

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBackpacking Dad

i'm happy to concede on the side of fun. no offense taken. i'm impressed with BD's skills. he got me, plain and simple. :)

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

My husband was a hockey player. He is just about the most mild-mannered guy you'll ever meet, as are some of the other hockey players I've crossed paths with. When I asked him about it, he said that they took all their aggression out on the ice. He lived in Canada and Nebraska growing up and when he is on the ice you can still see that he was a fantastic skater.

All that said, we have not pushed our two boys into hockey. We've taken them to the rink several weekends in the deep winter for family skate, but that's about it. IF they express interest in it, then we'll talk, but we both feel that it is asking too much money and time to push elementary school-aged kids into.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisse

Choosing which sport, if any, to put your kids in is a personal decision. Me personally? I love team sports. I don't even play anymore and I love them. Love watching them (even, gasp, football which is rough) and love that my son is so into them too. (dd is a baby, but if she likes them, then great!) His sport of choice happens to be baseball because that's what daddy is into, but he loves playing anything and everything.

At 2.5, he's too little for anything organized, but at some point we will voluntarily put both of our kids in organized team sports (soccer and tee ball likely to start). When they get old enough to decide what they like best, we'll follow their lead. Even if it is hockey.

As a kid, I have very fond memories of team sports - because of the team building nature of it. Even if I had self esteem issues about other things, I was part of something and was connected to other great people through the sport.

Honestly, I don't think it's the NHL only that is promoting violence in the sport. Have you been to a kid's game with the parents (this goes for soccer games I've been to as well) Some of the parents encourage this violence, this winner takes all attitude. Some yell in the stands, swearing at the kids - their kids, other kids - or the refs. I can't even take my kids to the games for fear of the words/language we may hear in the stands.

Organized sports can be great things for kids - teaching lessons about winning and losing, team work, trying hard, keeping schedules, balancing school/practice...

But, this isn't to say that other activities, free time etc. aren't valuable as well. A healthy balance is important.

And Annie, while it may have been tongue in cheek, I am disappointed in your comments about jocks. It's far too big an over generalization for what is otherwise a well thought out and argued post.

August 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I held off commenting on this, because I wanted to see what the average age of kids mentioned was. And most of the people commenting, do have very young kids, so you may not witnessed the things i have.

And I absolutely agree with you that the NHL and frankly the entire organized amateur and junior hockey systems are horrendous and promote not just violence, but a complete lack of interest in education or safety of players.

To this day, hockey is the only professional sport that actively discourages players from living with their own parents, finishing high school, or going to college. The NBA, and the NFL have rules that disallow recruiting methods that encourage kids going pro to early. Same for many other sports, amateur or organized. I know children who have ended up permanently brain damaged from concussions and who now have no hope of ever attending college without extreme special ed help to cope with their vision problems and learning disabilities. And to top it off? Ontario is the only province that allows bodychecking and contact in the early teen years, against medical recommendations, all because of money made off the OHL.

I have a 13 yo, 9 yo, and 1 yo. My older boys did skating lessons from a young age and then we played non-contact hockey at their school and a few community venues. That is a few hours a week, and there is no risk of violence or danger. My kids love hockey like that, and get exercise and we love watching them play. But, we NEVER ever did rep hockey or GTHL organized hockey, because of the complete mess it makes of family life and education in every kid's life. The coaches all push for more and more and more money to be spent on out-of-town tournaments. Kids miss many hours of school, and get so far behind, they need extra tutoring just to keep up. Schedules are always last minute and God forbid you miss a game, even for illness you'll be thrown out and banned from playing anywhere. Whole thing is utterly moronic.....kids who play elite level sport can't even have lives outside of the sport, even to try a different sport they might like more!

I've had so many arguments with parents who think that elite and rep hockey is great, blah, blah, blah, meanwhile, their brilliant kid is risking injuries, and they have no problem spending a fortune on hockey --3-4K per season but the family doesn't even have an RESP.

Casual sport, all about fun and exercise and Canadiana, I'm there, and I have enrolled my kids in lots of sports camps just so they get the skill of throwing and catching a ball, basic skating and swimming, and general team sports skills. (And they are very very skilled at sports now, my oldest is a brilliant goalie.) But the over the top joke that is the current hockey environment in Ontario?

HA, they'll never ever get my money or my kids.

August 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAurelia

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