As each week passes and another lesson is introduced, they get a little tougher and a little more impactful. I really wish I could say that I was only ever on the receiving end of this lesson, but unfortunately, that's not the case. I have enough cringe worthy moments of conduct I'm not proud of to fill a penalty box. There are a few of those stories in the book and one of my favorite quotes from this chapter is, "Hockey can bring out the best in people and the absolute worst," and I have to say that is certainly true of my behaviour.
I will never forget standing in a cold arena near our hometown during a particularly stressful hockey game. My husband was working and my daughter was with grandma - thank god! My son was in net and it was a very close game. We were up by one (1) and there was only a minute to go, the referee blew the whistle for an offside call. Seconds later he dropped the puck to start the play again. I knew the game would be over soon so we just needed to keep the puck out of our end. I glanced over to the scoreboard only to realize that the timekeeper hadn't started the clock. I started to panic and then proceeded to yell at him saying, "Start the clock, start the clock, the CLOCK!!!!" Finally he heard me and so did everyone around me, everyone in the parking lot and I'm pretty sure everyone in the surrounding towns too.
When I realized what I had done, I could have crawled under my seat. The game finally ended and my son's team won, but unfortunately I had lost any shred of dignity I had arrived with that day. All of a sudden my hockey friends that I used to stand with were now pretending they had some place to be, as far away from me as possible. I collected my things and walked out to the canteen area. As I was waiting for my son to come out from the dressing room, I noticed the timekeeper I had yelled at leaving the arena. I was expecting an adult, but to make things worse, a young teenager emerged who was no more than 15 years old; this was obviously a volunteer position for him. As he walked into the canteen, I couldn't help but notice that his cheeks were beet red as if someone had just embarrassed him, and unfortunately that "someone" was me. His mother was there to pick him up and I saw them talking.
After he was finished telling her the story of the crazy lady in the stands, she turned to give me a look of complete disgust . . . . and she should have. I went out and sat in the car and was beyond mortified. I embarrassed myself, the parents around me, my son, and worst of all, this completely innocent kid. There was not another place that I could think of that I would have ever behaved like that, and the worst part was it was all over a hockey game. It was a tough day but thankfully I learned an important lesson.
When I had the opportunity to hear the stories from the referees we interviewed, I found their comments so impactful. One quote in particular came from Blake Deschenes and it will stay with me forever. He said "At the end of the day it's always just a game; you're just playing. The most important thing is to have fun and no matter what level you're at, we understand the competition rises and so do the emotions. You just have to remember to always know the difference between emotion and abuse." I don't think I can explain it much better than that. So please remember "Before you yell at your child for their performance on the ice, take a look at your conduct in the stands."
- Written by Allyson Tufts