Once in a while there is a kid in the dressing room who could really use a good slap. Sometimes that kid is even my kid. I’m only kind of kidding, I certainly don’t advocate hitting children, but you know what I mean, right?
By now, many of you have heard the heart-breaking story of the B.C. dad who took his nine-year-old son off a team because the coach was “short-benching” him. Basically, his son was getting a fraction of the ice time his teammates were getting because he wasn’t as good as the other players.
We call it short-shifting in our neck of the woods, but it doesn’t matter what you call it, it sucks. To bench a nine-year-old hockey player because he doesn’t play as well as everyone else on the team is about as cruel and dim-witted as forgetting your hockey gear in the car in February. Maybe this coach thinks he’s the next Scotty Bowman – who knows?
There are always two sides to the story, however, and I’m just going to speculate on that other side for a minute. I repeat; I am going to S-P-E-C-U-L-A-T-E. I don’t know this man, his son or the coach. Maybe the coach is just a total arrogant idiot and deserves this bad rap – and if that’s the case, hopefully he’s suspended for such a senseless move.
But sometimes kids are little holy terrors. What if this kid was a hockey brat? Every hockey mom has come across hockey brats on her kids’ teams.
It’s very sad when other players tease kids for not playing a good game, for missing the pass, for letting the goal in, but a hockey brat will do that. It sucks and it happens, but what can you do?
It’s annoying to everyone when there’s a hockey brat in the dressing room that hogs the attention all the time, even when the coach is trying to give the pre-game talk. It sucks and it happens, but what can you do?
It’s irritating when there’s a hockey brat in the dressing room that decides it’ll be really funny to squirt Gatorade and water all over the floor, walls, equipment and people. It sucks and it happens, but what can you do?
It’s frustrating when hockey brats habitually show up late to games and require the coach and assistant coaches to rejig the lines at the last minute. It sucks and it happens, but what can you do?
It aggravating that some players think they don’t need to show up for practices because they’re that good, and show up only to games (and sometimes not even tournaments). A hockey brat will do that.
It sucks, but it happens, and what can you do?
It’s sad when there are those players, who despite showing up well before game time, are professional procrastinators and are still barely dressed for the game when the coaches come in for pre-game chat. It sucks and it happens, but what can you do?
It’s riles me that some players constantly forget their jerseys or some other critical piece of hockey equipment and expect the coaches and parents to run around and fix their problem. That’s a hockey brat for you. It sucks and it happens, and what can you do?
I know what you can do. I say, “Bench ‘em, Coach!”
I’m a hockey mom. I’ve been a den mom too since my daughter started playing hockey eleven years ago. We all know some of these hockey brats. I know my three kids have even been these hockey brats once in a while.
That kind of behaviour is distracting and demotivating to teammates, and ultimately disrespectful to everyone involved in the sport.
The coach of every single team my kids have ever played on over the past 14 years has had a very respectable approach to fair playing time. In fact, it’s mandated in most leagues’ policies. But, if there’s a kid on the team who’s a hockey brat, maybe a little time sitting on the bench will teach them a lesson or two. Sometimes it’s just what the hockey brat asked for.
So there you have it - three cheers for benching the hockey brat!
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