Yesterday I asked you on our Hockey Mom in Canada Facebook page if you had ever encountered overzealous parents from another team, and how you handled them. Many of you responded to the question with experiences of your own, and, as expected, this is a touchy subject for some.
Your responses got me thinking about Hockey Mom (and Hockey Dad) Etiquette. What are those unwritten rules that help us all get along smoothly while our kids are flying around the ice with sticks in their hands and the competitive juices are flowing just as much in the parents as they are in the kids (and sometimes more so).
I do not pretend to be the expert in Hockey Mom Etiquette, but I do tend to get along with everyone pretty well. You can often find me chatting with opponent moms before the game, asking them about their drive, where they are staying (if it’s a tournament), about the last team they beat out (if it’s the playoffs), or anything else I can think of at the moment. I’m especially prone to doing this if the team has travelled a long way to get to us, as I like to think of our association as gracious hosts.
When it comes game time, I respect the other parents’ cheering and excitement, and I know that everyone can get a little upset over missed calls, questionable calls, and if the other team launches a comeback, I can really understand the cheering frenzy. What I don’t understand, however, is when parents cross the line into obnoxiousness. Do you remember our post from Abuse by Coaches Has Me Thinking (July 13th), or another from April 19, 2010 Called We’re Number 5! that talks about how Canada ranks 5th in the world for having witnessed abuse at children’s sports. Perhaps it’s time that we all come up with some Hockey Etiquette rules for Hockey Moms. I’ll list the ones I know, and you need to send some as well, because I know these are not complete.
– When you are cheering for your team, keep it positive, and please do not yell at my team’s players. Absolutely no Boo-ing. Ever.
– Please do not yell at your OWN child. Nothing makes other parents more uncomfortable than hearing the overbearing parent yelling at their kid for making a mistake, or not trying hard enough. They are kids, cut them some slack, and let the coaches address the mistake or lack of effort. Also, your child may well be trying their very hardest. If you want to talk to them about that, do it at home.
– Keep your language clean. For the sake of everyone around you, including my younger kids who are within earshot, clean up your potty mouth. You might be comfortable swearing around your kids, but I’m not. Respect that others don’t want to hear it either.
– Quit yelling obscenities at the ref, and don’t follow them off the ice after the game telling them they “blew it”. I understand the groans when it is a blown call, but you have to know when you are going overboard.
– If you are up by a bunch of goals and clearly outmatch your opponents, please don’t cheer for every goal like you just won the Stanley Cup in overtime. The other team (and parents) know they are outmatched; you don’t have to rub it in. If that kid who never scoes happens to get one, I get that it’s important to cheer. Just remember how you and your child would feel if the tables were turned.
– Keep your cheering to your own “section”. Typically in arenas fans from teams tend to sit together. If you are in your section cheering positively, that’s great. If at any point you feel the need to run around into my section waving your banner/flag etc. behind me you might want to reconsider. I’ve seen fights start that way (of course, not by ME…..)
– It is never ok to cheer for your team to “take out” another player, even if that other player is the one who scores 10 goals in a game. The child superstars in the game today might be the one scoring the game winner for us in the Olympics down the road, but right now, think of them as someone’s child. Consider how you would feel if you were their mother and everyone was yelling for the other team to take YOUR child out.
– Try to be the visiting fan that you would want to see in your home arena, as opposed to the visiting fan that you would like to throw out of your barn. If we all acted like our own idea of the “model fan”, maybe there would be no comparisons of Hockey Moms to pit bulls.
Do you have additional rules of etiquette for Hockey Moms in Canada? I’d love t hear them. Share them on Facebook, leave a comment, or email us. You can also follow us on Twitter and share your ideas there.