Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How can you let him play hockey?

Over the years I have been asked by parents "Why do you encourage your son to play hockey?".

When Brandon was 4 he begged his father and I to play ice hockey.  Hockey is an expensive sport, so we decided to get Brandon skating lessons first.  He loved being on the ice.  When he turned five we bought him his first pair of hockey skates.  At six he was playing on his first hockey team.  

He chose to play hockey.  We encourage him to play well.

I was even approached by a parent who sons plays football, and she wanted to know "How can you let your son play such a violent sport?"  

I do agree that hockey is way rougher than football.  Players get checked, high sticks in the face and pucks are flying.  Football you pointlessly run in to people.  =D

Bantam Level 2012
From an outsiders point of view, I can see why hockey seems like a violent sport.  But in fact, we fans all know that ice hockey is very physically demanding and yet it also requires skill and finesse, and given the fact that you’re playing on ice, there are always going to be some moments when you’re a little bit out of control. Big hits are part of what makes the game as exciting as it is.  
Midget U16 2013
Sure, hockey can cause injuries. Just like any other sport.  However, if you look at statistics almost 215,000 children are treated in the ER from football injures every year vs. the 20,000 ER visits from hockey players.  
Midget U16 2013

These days, it’s tough for parents to decide whether to enroll their children in organized sports such as hockey or football. Yes, physical safety matters. But is our collective obsession with protecting our children from harm threatens to turn out a generation of children ill-equipped to deal with their future?  It seems to me that children in modern America are growing up in a country paralyzed by complacency and fear.  

My son wrote an essay on sportsmanship for an English class that I thought was pretty amazing.  My favorite paragraph:
I learned to listen to and respect the coach. I learned to listen to the team captain. I learned how important my role was as a team captain. I learned how to skate better. I learned how to protect myself. I learned that I had to wait my turn to play. I learned that I was not the centre of the universe, but a team member. I learned how to be punctual and stick to a schedule. I learned how to be responsible for my own body and for the bodies of my team mates and opponents. I learned that it was better to obey the rules than to sit in the penalty box. I learned to be organized and responsible for my hockey equipment. I learned what sportsmanship was. Sportsmanship is a style and an attitude, and it can have a positive influence on everyone around you.
Our children need to learn the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, toughness, and competitiveness. It good for children to learn to strive, to succeed, and most importantly, how to fail. When the time comes, let your kid play football, or hockey... or whatever, and let him decide for himself. He may break his leg or suffer a concussion, but he will be far better off for it over the course of his life than if he stays inside and plays video games.


9 pretty purplexing comments:

  1. my first reaction was why wouldn't you? :) Sports are sports... there's risks in everything... even walking out the door to GET to the game.
    Let kids find their passion.

  2. There are dangers to every sport. It sounds like your son had an early passion and skill for skating and hockey. Why would anyone want to discourage that?

  3. How can you let them play hockey?

    I don't understand the question? ;)

  4. Yes, ice time is very expensive. So are the uniforms, skates and sticks. We make it work though because it is something Brandon is passionate about. I feel for those kids who want to play but the parents just cannot afford the cost.

    My middle son, Zachary played baseball from the time he was 4 until 8th grade. When he told us he didn't want to play anymore I was devastated. I loved watching him play. He was good at it. However, it was his choice. In high school he played basketball, lacrosse and golf.

    I would never force one of my kids play a sport. I can see a young man striving for a scholarship, if he decides he want to play for that school. I don't want to judge, because I am not in the parents shoes, but I agree with you and cannot understand those parents who push a child into a scholarship because they (meaning the parents) want it.

  5. I dont understand the question either- how could you not let him do something he so wanted to?

  6. Some parents are overly protective. I think that only hurts the children in the long run.


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