Gut Rumbles

September 15, 2008

Sports parents

Originally published January 11, 2002

The hockey-dad murder trial took up a lot of space in the news today and I really don't understand why. The situation may be terrible when two fathers, one weighting 156 pounds and the other weighing 270 pounds, decide to duke it out on the ice after their twelve year-old sons finish practice one day, and the 156 pound dad ends up dead as a result. It's a stupid, sordid, senseless example of two symmetrical assholes behaving like symmetrical assholes with tragic results. If you watch CSPAN, you see congressmen doing the same thing every day. Unfortunately, they battle with blustering rhetoric instead of flailing fists and don't end up with a dead body at the end, which does untold harm to our great Republic through the tragic results of future legislation they will live to sponsor.

I don't understand the media's fascination with this trial, because somebody being beaten to death after a little league sporting event doesn't surprise me at all. When I was in college, I earned two Physical Education credits by taking a course in "Football Officiating." I passed the course and then took a test, which I also passed, to qualify me to referee pee-wee games in the City Recreation League. I was paid $5.00 per game and could do as many as four games on a good Saturday, plus one or two more during the week. I thought it was a gold mine at the time. I changed my mind quickly when I barely escaped from some of those games without being lynched from the goal posts. Some parents take their kid's sports WAY too seriously.

I was cursed many times in loud, spittle-decorated words that would have done a 30-year veteran merchant sailor proud. I was threatened with numerous ass-whippings, sometimes from the MOTHERS, for crying out loud, when I made a call that didn't suit the right team. I had things thrown at me from the sidelines, sometimes by a coach and sometimes by an irate parent. I saw children being called to the sidelines for a fully-adult, X-rated butt-chewing, complete with vicious head-slaps and shoulder-shakings by both coaches and parents when the kid made a bad play on the field. I saw fights in the bleachers between men, and fights in the bleachers between WOMEN who became totally beserk during these games. It was sometimes frightening, sometimes sickening and usually at its very worst when the eight year-olds were playing.

The news reports are treating this hockey-dad incident as if it were a total abberation instead something that was bound to happen sooner or later, and will probably happen again, as long as parents take little league sports as seriously as NFL coaches do the Super Bowl. Forget "Road Rage." "Game Rage" is a lot worse, a lot more common and totally out of control.

Organized sports can be a wonderful experience for a young person. But demonic parents need to understand that IT'S JUST A GAME!

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