This is not an article on participation trophy’s. This is a story on player and parents that too many time people do not want to talk about.
Yesterday I spend time with a friend of mine and his son who is Major Junior player, and will likely be NHL draft pick next June. A very talented player who should have very long NHL career.
During that time I watch and observe how the family interact before, during and after the on ice sessions. I also have the chance to watch the players I have heard of, but do not know. How they interact with their family, coaches and other at the arena.
There are some very big differences between the very high level player and the player looking to play on the high level team.
I ask my friend this one question; “What do you think is the most important role you play in your son career?”
“I am only here to support what he wants to do with his life. It is not my dream for him to play in the NHL, its his dream. I never initiate a hockey conversation about his game, practice or training. If he wants to talk then I give him my opinions, but I always remember that this is his life not mine.”
How many of you parent can say the same thing? Do you action support you words?
Yesterday I also see more than one parent yelling from the stand, trying to coach the kid as he come off the ice, and expressing disappointment at every mistake. I see parent walk up to coach uninvited to offer they opinion. I see parent talking bad about organization, linemate they son play with, and the system of how player be chosen for team.
These are the parent of Trophy Kids.
The kid accomplishment is the trophy for the parent to carry above they head. It is the parent bragging right with other parent. It is like parent is in some type of competition with every other hockey parent, and it is not just in hockey.
We all see these parent. We know who they are. Most of us avoid them. Most team avoid them once they are identified.
Yesterday I also ask one of these parent the same question; “What do you think is the most important role you play in your son career?”
“I need to arrange for the best camps, and that I hire the best trainers. I make sure I take the time off from work to get things done. I call the coaches, and I research what teams I might be able to get a tryout arranged.”
Now go back and read the first parent answer.
In the first answer every statement surrounds supporting “him”. In the second answer, not once did the parent mention “him”.
I recorded these answer on my phone so I did not make the mistake. Not only is the content of the answer different, but the tone of each parent is dramatically different. One is relaxed one is very aggressive or anxious.
After I speak to the parents I speak to the players and ask “What role do you family play in you hockey career?”
High level NHL prospect say;
“My family is always there for me. Whether I have a good or bad game, everything remains the same. They know I don’t need to be told how I played, and they give me my space. The only time we talk about hockey when I am home is if we are watching a game together or I need to vent. If I had to talk about every practice or game with my family I would quit playing. That’s my coaches job, and I leave him at the rink.”
Prospect player say;
“My Dad does it all for me. He wants me to make the NHL. He gets me the best of everything. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.”
Which parent are you? Which parent do you want to be? How would you and your son answer these question?