Just Another Day At The Rink!

I was at my son’s hockey game today, like millions of other parents in the Winter months around the world. His house league hockey team had their last game of the regular season today.

I heard something while in the stands that prompted me to write my thoughts here. This point is also true of all sports I am sure.

After a goal, and the cheers from the stands from fans of one team, I heard a father comment that the goal gave his son XX points on the season. I was chatting at the time with another father and we both discontinued our discussion; stunned. While I was still trying to determine if I had really heard what I thought I heard, another father showed up (arriving late to the game). “Hey Joe, did you see Billy’s goal? It was his XXth point of the year” (of course Joe and Billy are fictitious names). And of course, my question was answered.

It amazes me to witness parents that still judge the success of their children’s minor sports on how many points they get, goals they score, etc. When in fact it might be an idea to judge the successes on how many friends they’ve made, how much fun they had, and yes indeed, how successful “the team” has been.

Don’t get me wrong, I think celebrating a point total is fine, but in front of all other parents seems very tacky. I’ve always been of the opinion that if you are going to put your child on a pedestal, and be an adoring fan (which is fine for the child’s self esteem), do it in the comfort of your own home, or your vehicle on the way home. Explaining to them as well that it is a team effort might also help.

I might just be becoming that crusty old goat; that type of old person I always criticized, but answer me this. When is the last time you saw Sidney Crosby, or John Grant, or any high level athlete say to anyone in an interview……”Hey, what did you think of my goal tonight, it was my XXXth point this year?” Right, never, they usually deflect the question to “yes the team did very well tonight” or “I got lucky on a few shots”. Why do you think? Because I am sure, their parents instilled the “team effort” and “celebrate teams successes more than your own” into them their whole lives.

Usually, and I’ve seen this many, many times, other parents will adore the high point scorers on teams anyway. So mom and dad, just smile, be appreciative of the high praises for your children, but let others do it for you.

Thoughts?

Marksy

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Marksy,

    I can understand to a degree where a parent’s pride will shine through, even in public. I think from time to time that is expected and acceptable. It is a hard call when we don’t know the full backstory to those comments, but generally speaking your view is right on. How about this:

    I was at a novice house league game at McKinney last summer where the Dad sitting right next to me, in a very loud voice, was calling his kid by name and basically coaching him from the stands. For the two periods of the game I saw, that poor kid heard detailed instructions how to play from the stands including the dreaded, “Commmmmm oooonnnnn run faster!” Ugh. I was embarassed for that kid.

    Parental pride in their child’s accomplishments is great and usually welcome, but, as you say, there are appropriate times and places.

  2. I agree about everything you said but one.

    You don’t hear Sidney Crosby or John Grant talking about how many points they have and they always deflect it to how well the team did, more likely because they have either learned how to speak in front of the media through experience, or they have had media coaching. I’m not saying that these guys don’t know the importance of team, I’m just saying that I’m fairly certain that if they bragged about their personal successes, they would lose fans and the faith of them.


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