Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nope, Athletes Are Not Role Models

Where do kids get these ideas? (Link from DRUDGE)

This is right of out of the "You Reap What You Sow" file. Of course this is a concept that Ultimate Fighting on Ice (UFOI) Fans just don't seem to comprehend. But then again, what else is new?

Sure you can show me UFOI Fans who are wringing their hands and nervously rubbing the back of their necks saying that this is inappropriate and way out of line. Some might even try to pull a slight of hand and say this is not the fault of the kids but of their coaches and the adults who encouraged them to fight. While I'll come back to this later, the question still begs, who got the idea in the first place that not only is this a good idea but acceptable behavior at any level of play?

To answer that question, it isn't too hard to find out. You have the UFOI Fans who insist up and down the street that not only is fighting in hockey a noble thing, it is also necessary for the survival of the sport both on the ice and at the box office. We're told that taking fighting out of hockey would, well make it just not hockey anymore. We're told that the players want it in the game that it would keep the game "clean." We're told that the fans want it and that without the possibility of fights, the stands would be empty, nobody would watch the game on TV anymore, and newspapers wouldn't be able to sell their papers anymore.

Well folks, these eight year olds were just playing hockey. If fighting is a vital and integral part of the sport, why shouldn't these eight year olds play the game the "proper" way and be fighting each other just like the pros? I mean the Boogaard Brothers held a fighting camp for kids this summer saying it's part of the game and they're only helping these kids by showing them how to defend themselves and not get hurt as their justification. If there is little to no outrage over this, why should anybody be seriously outraged when kids take the lessons they learned at camp and apply them in their games? How low must things go before the hand wringing and neck rubbing stop?

As for blaming the coaches, again, aren't they just upholding the game's glorious tradition by bringing some "Old Time Hockey" to youth level? Personally, I think not only should these coaches be suspended but they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near children again. We do the same thing to pedophiles in this country (I know this took place in Canada but allow me to finish my point) and I defy anybody to tell me that these coaches aren't harming these children by encouraging them to fight like this. The tournament organizers also did a grave injustice by not throwing the teams out of the tournament. Those organizers gave a tacit seal of approval despite the fact that the police had to show up at their event. Usually when you have to call the police, it is because you don't want somebody around anymore.

Until fighting is totally removed from the NHL, you're going to see these kinds of things pop up. I'd dare say you'll see them popping up more and more too. Professional Sports is often described as "grown men getting paid to play a kid's game" and how sad is it that NHLer's fight like that? If you UFOI Fans want to know why some people believe that hockey is just people beating up on each other you need to look no further than this incident. Why on earth should anybody think otherwise? If you really want these black eyes from the game to be removed and stop occurring, you'll have to get rid of the fighting because the sad part is, this isn't even the worst fighting incident to occur this year at the youth hockey level, only the youngest.



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