Aretha Franklin said it best – RESPECT. Ok.
She actually sang it but the word still resonates when talking about sports at the most basic of levels and reaches up into the highest of the high.
Earlier this month Hockey Alberta followed in the footsteps of the Motown Queen and released a plan which will incorporate parents and officials with a hockey team, no matter what the level.
The Respect in Sport “parent program” simply means mom and dad and anyone else in the family will need to complete the program in order for little Johnny or Janie to play organized hockey.
This comes into play December 1st of this year so it’s not like this is going to sneak up on someone and they wind up marching down to the local minor hockey office and registering a complaint.
On the flip side, junior and senior teams need to have any and all of their registered team officials do the same in order for them to hang around the team.
The big brother in all of this is the local minor hockey associations. They have the task of making sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed for each of the above-mentioned hockey types.
Without getting into a lot of detail the program basically provides information on what influence a parent has in how their offspring enjoy the sport and how to maybe rein in some behaviour in the rink a small percentage of parents have unfortunately displayed in the past.
Now it’s not as simple as saying don’t do that anymore and you can come and sip your java and watch. This program goes the extra mile and underlines those occasional lapses in judgment shown because your child was on the wrong end of a call or a coach’s decision.
We can study and speculate as to why some people get utterly uncontrollable when it comes to this game and I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons but for the most part, these outbursts are generally over something which is not worth the effort of turning red in the face over.
The bottom line here is to make the game fun and enjoyable for the players, coaches, officials and the fans without being heavy-handed and placing the big padlock on the doors once the kids get into the rink. Although I have heard of some soccer games played where the parents are not allowed near the pitch in order for their six-year-olds to have the fun they came there for in the first place.
So study up, meet the requirements and enjoy the next hockey season in your local rink.