Parking Lot Coaches
Educators are discussing removing cell phones from the hands of their students during class time. Maybe hockey associations should do the same thing to parents during games.
It seems parents have developed a new measuring stick for their kids on a team. Ice time. Every second counts.
It is pitting parents against coaches, parents against parents, parents against kids and basically parents against the hockey world in general because little Johnny or Janey got 3.47 seconds less ice time last night than Billy or Betty.
This scenario was brought to light when one of my regulars strolled through the door of the store.
He has been involved in hockey for years, it has been a love, a vehicle for self fulfillment and the sense of giving back to the community.
But what has it truly given him? Stress, unnecessary confrontations, frustration and a strong desire to pack it in altogether and the newest culprit is that parents have now learned how to tell time.
You see them in the crowd, head bent, occasionally glancing up to see what is happening in the game my more concerned with the entrances and exits from the players bench.
Publicly the parents will try and feed you the line that it is all about fairness and equality. It sounds good if you say it out loud. I want the game to be fair to every one. Everyone should be treated equally.
When examined closely it is nothing more than a very thin veneer of indignation at the basic perceived unfairness in team sports. Especially in hockey where there are always five other players to blame on the ice.
Your team is down 3 goals, each of which led to the opposition thanking your son/daughter for the assist. Bonehead passes and giveaways means a three goal deficit. But the defencemen should have covered, where were the forwards the passes were supposed to be going to? We need better goaltenders. Someone else to blame. Every other parent is fuming amount the amount of ice time your child is receiving. They would prefer to see his butt firmly stapled to the end of the bench. What about winning? But at the end of the night, your concern is the 3.47 seconds. Your child was robbed of valuable ice time.
“Parking lot coaches” is how my friend disdainfully refers to them. They have been enough for him to walk away from a head coaching gig. Wishing to stay involved he has joined another organization as an assistant hoping the change of scenery would reignite his passion for the game, his desire to teach, his willingness to give back. All was fine until he met his first parent. Then it was plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose. The more things change, the more they stay the same, or in some cases get worse. These ones could tell time, or at least measure it.
They now had another arrow in their quiver of unchecked, unabashed, ego. They now have hard data that their child is not getting a fair shake. Your player, in that 3.47 seconds would have atoned for the mistakes made by others that led to the 3-0 on the scoreboard, he would have potted 4 to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. You didn’t point out the last part of your thinking but you loudly proclaimed your dissatisfaction with the missing 3.47 seconds. You take the seconds and spread them out over 20 games, heck you are now pushing a whole minute that you have deprived my player of.
Twenty years from now when the parent raises this with their player they will point out this golden moment being ripped away from them heartlessly by a bunch of useless coaches is why the two of you are watching the Leafs from the den drinking beer, rather than you being at the ACC watching your kid patrol the wing with Matthews and Mariner.
They ignored the fact that a couple of faux pas by a Leaf had led to them trailing, and that Leaf’s butt had been firmly stapled to the end of the bench. I wonder if that player’s parent was sitting in the stands noting the lack of ice time, and when they are going to raise it with the coaching staff.
Smart phones achieved the ultimate technological advancement by having parents waste their time as time keepers, rather than enjoying the game and participating in the development of a child.
Unfortunately egos cannot be measured in nanoseconds.
January 20, 2020