A Bad Dad!
The following story is true. It is a confession of a bad dad written only so that those that may read it can avoid the same.
As you may know I have 2 boys that play hockey. Decades ago I too played hockey very intensely up to a high level and of course my brother played pro far exceeding me but we both played with an “edge”.Conroy’s have been a hockey family since the late 60’s even though my dad could not skate for the life of him.
I am now without a doubt proud, tough love coach but in the beginning of Ryans “career” I was one of the dicks yelling at their kid from the boards.
My wife at the time knowingly gave me hell but I “knew” better of course.I didn’t!
Thank fully it all stopped one day, I remember clearly and with great shame what happened. Ryan was playing in the Blue Rink, he had the puck on the bench side of the boards in the close end I was right there on the glass, he made a ”mistake” and I was again,angrily yelling at a 6 year old, and frankly he was the best 6 year old in Chestermere.
This time he heard me and I will never ever forget the look on his face when he looked up at me. It was a look of confusion and genuine fear. He did not know what to do. That look stopped me cold. That moment I realized what a true dick I had been and I stopped. His look still haunts me.
Now I stand in the corner and chat to dads and I love to remind them that my kid just blew up their kid at the blue line. Ryan and I exchange nods and I suggest things with my motions and he receives them without malice. I do know a little about the game!
We can’t yell at our kids, we can’t yell at the refs and we can’t yell at our coaches.
We can cheer. We can support our kids while they are playing and we can cheer for all kids and why not? Think about this idea. Unless you have even played the game at a high level how in the hell can you offer advice to your child?
Also we can never EVER yell at a referee EVEN when they make a “mistake”. I refereed for 30 years starting at 12. It is HARD to do well and I guarantee you no Ref in the history of the game made more mistakes in a game than a single player does each game. And remember the Ref is out there for the whole game, watching 12 players, two benches, the minor officials and some dumb-ass parents all while skating as fast as the players.
As a late teen and as an adult I enjoyed dealing with yelling parents and removed many from the rink but as young kid the adults intimidated me, luckily I was a cocky, arrogant little bugger but most kids are not.
I will never forget Ryan’s first game as a referee. He was a learned, 13 year old hockey player but during his first game as a ref (I made sure to work the box just to help him out) he was laughably, pathetic and this was a straight A kid.
He literally had no idea what to do despite having taken the test and passed! Being a ref is hard! Minor Hockey does way too little to teach referees. Of course he figured it out eventually and became a good referee, but refereeing is incredibly difficult made even more so with Parents YELLING at kids so please, please don’t.
Coaches can’t and should not yell either. All you do when you yell at the kids on the ice is confuse them (if they even hear you as usually all 3 or 4 coaches are yelling) and possibly teach them to listen to you (bad bad bad).
The coach on the bench are 2 positives and 1 negative.
But I digress. Since that day I never yelled at my son again. Over the progressing years I did give him crap 2 times in the truck going home for being lazy.
Personally I have never cared for my sons teams or my teams winning or losing a hockey game. I only care about working hard and trying your best, work hard and the wins will come.
Ryan is an excellent player but no team he has played on has ever won a championship, is that how he is to be judged?
I am glad I figured it out early, I still have this bad horrible memory and perhaps he does to. I hope not!
I share my mistakes in hope you will learn from my mistakes. Love your kid, love hockey, support and empower them and CHEER for the GAME!
With significant regrets,