My grandsons have been watching a lot of hockey lately. As we draw close to the longest day of the year the season finally came to a close when it erupted in a shocking show of bad fansmanship in the riots in the streets of Vancouver last night after the loss by the Canucks to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final.
After a round of some shocking injuries and even more shocking unsportsman-like behaviour the bad boy Bruins took home the silver cup. I am still left with refereeing a 5 year-old who doesn't seem to quite understand that it is not OK to swat his 2 year-old brother upside the head with his hockey stick. After all he has seen his heroes act this way regularly.
Even in contact sports like rugby you cant run around tackling people who don't have the ball or slam people who aren't in play to try and sideline them. Boston was not the better team, they just played the dirtiest sport I have witnessed in a long time and got away with it.
If tennis players or archers or lawn bowlers started to attack each other with their equipment there would be hell to pay. In hockey is seems wanton violence is condoned and I am left dealing with the trickle down to the 5 and 2 year olds. Mr. Five sulks off to the time out chair with the same long face of disenchantment as the occasional hockey player who actually gets sent on time out. Behaviours are learned early.
Despite all the video records of this behaviour little is done at the league level to correct it. It makes the "sport" not a sport in the eyes of many. I just can't imagine Wimbledon with players assaulting each other with rackets. Sport is supposed to be about playing fair and hard, not unfair plays and whacks to the nerve centres of other players when you think the referee isn't looking. The world is watching and those who do this kind of thing just look like thugs. Still people clamoured to pay $1800 per for nosebleed seats in Rogers Arena last night. We have come full circle to the Roman circus.
This, in my personal view, not entertaining. Nor is having to referee youngsters who assume this kind of behaviour is legitimate. Maybe some of these outlaw players should be sentenced to sensitivity training to ensure they understand how their gangster behaviours on the ice trickle down to the youngsters, rather than being given a big bonus for having acted as goons.