Does this surprise you?
According to a new Ipsos Reid poll released earlier in April, 53% of Canadians say they have witnessed verbal or physical abuse against officials and coaches by parents during youth sports.
Really? That shocks me. Only 53%?
Perhaps more context is needed.
The Ipsos Reid poll was commissioned by Thomson Reuters and was conducted in several countries, and perhaps most importantly, the sport was not limited to hockey. The poll demonstrated that Canada — at 53 per cent — was among only five countries with a majority of respondents having witnessed abuse at children’s sports.
Can you guess the other countries with abusive parents?
The United States (60 per cent), India (59 per cent), Italy (55 per cent) and Argentina (54 per cent) had more people report witnessing abuse than in Canada. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic and Hungary had the most “sportsmanlike” parents, with just 24 per cent and 16 per cent of respondents reporting they had seen abuse during children’s sports.
Now maybe I’m hanging with the wrong teams (just kidding guys), but truly, I can’t imagine a Hockey Mom in Canada with a child playing competitive hockey who has NOT witnessed verbal or physical abuse of officials and coaches. I’m not saying every hockey mom has done it, but certainly, we have all witnessed it, have we not?
And so, I have to ask this question ( and I’m not asking because I have an answer). If we have all seen it, and some have done it, does that mean that we think that it’s actually OKAY?
What is it about our hockey culture that puts normally reserved, respectful parents over the edge when it comes to hockey games? I have heard non hockey parents say that it’s because we all think our kid is the next Sidney Crosby. While this might be the case for some parents, it’s certainly not the case for all. So what is the “it” factor that drives some parents wild (and leaves others grumbling about that idiot loud-mouth parent from the other team).
While the latest Ipsos Reid poll is informative, it doesn’t go deep enough for me. I want to know in which sports the parents are most abusive (My guess? Soccer, hockey, and baseball. I think typically sports like gymnastics and volleyball don’t get a lot of enraged parents). And, I also want to know what the parents are angry about. A missed call? Why are they yelling at the coaches? Are they at least yelling at the coaches on the other team?
And don’t get me wrong, while normally pretty reserved, I can get as worked up ast the next person. But I still wonder what it is about hockey, or perhaps sport in general, that gets parents this way.
Any thoughts? Leave a comment, or email firstname.lastname@example.org