As we close in on playoffs for winter youth hockey, basketball and other sports in Minnesota, it seems like a fair question. By now, you might have seen this viral video of a Canadian hockey dad calling a 15 year old player a midget and then profanely threatening the 15 year old's dad (all while holding a baby girl). It was posted a couple days ago. A little street cred to City Pages for bringing it to my attention. Can you recall a moment when you behaved like this guy?
I'd be a hypocrit if I claimed I'd never yelled something at my kids' sporting events. Last year I think I blew a gasket as a coach in a 5th grade travel basketball game and yelled at a ref about a foul call. It wasn't profane, but it was really dumb. The opposing coach then chimed in angrily at me and the stage was set for confrontation. Instead I smiled and shook the coach's hand and said we should just talk after the game. And after the game, the coach and I and the ref all shared a laugh and good conversation. And we made sure the boys shook hands and thanked the ref as always. I've been part of the problem, but I'd like to think I can also be part of the solution -- and a good example for young athletes. I'm trying, anyway! And I hope any sports parents who watch this video reflect on how they can do better as well and how they can create a positive climate for our kids.
There's a small detail toward the end of the video that is as troubling to me as anything. It's the guy with the video camera. In jawing with the profane dad, the cameraman says, "I got it all on camera pal. That's why I brought it." Have we really come to a point at which parents are bringing cameras because they know other parents are going to exhibit dreadful behavior?