In this week's guest post, we're featuring Emily Erson, of 'On The Job Mom.'
There's no denying that we are intense when it comes to our kids and their hockey. If we weren't, we'd be called soccer moms. But, I've found out over the years that there is a line between intense and downright ridiculous.
Simply put, don’t be that lady or not so gentleman in the stands that kids and parents from both teams are silently laughing at. Think about how your actions affect your kids.
We’ve all heard that one “C’mon Ref” parent who yells every time his/her kid gets bumped. It’s annoying as hell because half the time (s)he doesn’t even know what call (s)he’s asking for.
Every time I hear, "C'mon, ref he's slamming him into the boards." It takes all of my energy to yell back, "Because he's supposed to. It's hockey, not Barbies." But, I don't want anyone to go home remember who I was, so I sit quietly away from the jackwagon, and I watch my kid.
But there is a vast difference between the "C'mon Ref" parent, and being that one guy or gal in the stands that everyone at that game will remember. Don't be that person!
I can think of three parents I will never forget. And, with each incident I watched, I learned something important about being a hockey mom.
1. The Incident: The Hand Thrower
We played on one team where the dad broke into the locker room and tried to fight the coach. No joke, he burst into the locker room fists raised ready to throw hands with wait for it, the MITE coach. It was a cross-ice hockey game--where no score was kept!
The Lesson: Pay attention to your child’s reaction to your behavior.
I watched this man's little boy leave the locker room after his dad went rogue on the coach. His eyes were welled up, and he was openly fretting. The worry about how his friends would see him was written all over his face. From that game forward, that kid didn't play well.
Right then and there, I learned that what I say has a direct impact on how my kid plays hockey. It's a game, and it's supposed to lead to friendship, not isolation.
2. The Assault on a Veteran Dad
We were on a team one year, and a parent of one of the kids was shot in the war and lost his arm. Our kids were playing a game that got chippy, and a dad from the opposing team started making fun of this wounded soldier. Let me repeat, he was making fun of a veteran who lost his limp in combat. I am sorry, but that's a disgusting quality in a human being, period. And, if youth sports bring that out in you, you should stay home.
Lesson: I learned my kids’ performance is not a reflection of me, his/her attitude and behavior is.
Ok, in this instance, I did stand up and say something. I politely walked over to 50 shades of crazy and told him this was neither the time nor place to sling insults. I walked him away from the real hero in our hockey family, the wounded soldier. Upon walking away, I reminded him, “Insulting wounded veterans is the lowest of low. Their service trumps youth hockey any day.”
The reason I approached a hot-headed hockey dad in the mists of a temper tantrum? Good question. It was scary for sure. But, I would expect my son to do it to anyone disrespecting our military heroes. And, I am a mom, so I lead by
3. The Guy Who Told His Kid He Sucked When He Got off the Ice
My son’s team played a game last year, and they were losing 3-0 and came back and tied the game. The goals my son's team scored to tie the game were not stellar. And, the could have been stopped. But, they weren't. The goalie got a case of the nerves. We've all seen it happen for and against us.
After the game, the father of the goalie who let in the three shots was waiting for his son the exit the ice. He greeted him with the phrase, "You suck. If you are going to play like that, you better get your own rides to the rink."
I think my jaw dropped to the floor. And, I know I gasped loud enough for him to hear me. I was disgusted!
Lesson: At that moment, I learned that hockey is about growth, not perfection. Yes, we all want to see our kids shine. We love to bask in their superstar moments. But, those moments are only possible because they learn from mistakes. So, the mistakes have to happen for the moments of glory to follow.
The Bottom Line
Watching your kid play any sports can be an emotional roller coaster. There are so many factors that go into the game. But, it’s important to remember that youth sports are meant to teach kids life lessons. And, one lesson you don’t want them learning is how to act like an ass in public. So, model that behavior when you are watching your kids play.
Remember, your hockey family will love you regardless of how well your kid performs on any particular day. It's a fringe benefit of playing this great game.
About The Author:
To some teaching is a job, and the title they give themselves is teacher. To me, teaching is a passion, and the title I give myself is lifelong learner. I think through sports and community, we can show kids that they have the potential to do great things. In addition to finding ways to reach kids in the classroom, I spend a great deal of my time working with several youth hockey programs and animal rescue organizations.