Forgive them for they know not what they do...
Hockey parents have always been known to hover over the line between what is acceptable and what is not. When emotions become part of the equation, all inhibitions often get tossed into the wind.
For as long as there have been organized youth sports, there have been overenthusiastic parents. Parents have to know how to let go. That is easy enough to say, but very difficult to follow through with.
My now fourteen-year old daughter has me wrapped around her little finger and knows exactly what buttons to push to get whatever she wants. Call it love, or call it stupidity, but the fact is that I would do almost anything to get just one more smile out of that little girl's face.
So I get hockey parents. There is no such thing as a bad hockey mom or dad. Any parent that is going to sit through years of bad coffee in cold ice rinks can't be all that bad. Frankly, they could be some of the most dedicated parents on the planet.
Part of the problem is the delusion that often clouds our judgment. I have to laugh at my mom when she first suggested that my daughter should get singing lessons. What started out as a cute infatuation with some "let it go" song from Frozen has morphed into a potential record deal.
The point is simple. There is a system of development in place, the less the parent does to try and manipulate it, the better off the player is going to be. Dads that try and buy their way to the front of the line or moms that try to give away the cookies, neither is going to accomplish much more than embarrassment for their player.
The latest trend, and frankly the most disruptive, is the parent's decision to buy a team, or an interest in a team, simply to guarantee a roster spot for their son. The problem with this trend is that the parent often loses the passion for the game once their son ages out or moves on to college.
Parents can be especially dangerous when they get the idea that they know more about the game than the team's operational staff. A combustible situation arises when parents discuss their thoughts amongst themselves. When the leader of such a group decides to move forward and take the position to team management, they often find themselves standing alone, and their son quickly cut from the roster.
Parents need to stop drinking the bad coffee, bring a thermos of their own, and enjoy the experience of the game. It is not going to last forever, so allow their player to make the most of it. The smart parents shy away from the politics and allow their player to do his talking with the play on the ice.
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