By Alexander Cole
During a January hockey game at the Pierrefonds Sportplexe between the Pierrefonds “Junior A” Barons and the Huntington “Junior A” Huskies, 19-year-old Pierrefonds forward Nicolas Mazzilli had a shocking experience
In the middle of the third period, with the Barons up by a score of 2-1, Mazzilli was called for a penalty. As Mazzilli described, he skated to the penalty box, shut the door and sat down on the bench like he normally does when called for an infraction. This time however, as soon as Mazzilli sat down he could feel cold liquid trickling down his neck and shoulders. When he looked up, he saw the parent of a Huntington player dumping the remains of their water bottle on him.
“When I got up to see what was happening, a parent on the opposing team was screaming obscenities at me,” Mazzilli said. “I was shocked and all I could do was scream right back at her. It was the weirdest situation.”
According to Mazzilli, a couple of “boos” here and there are something he is used to, especially when a game is getting particularly hostile, but being assaulted was something he never expected. When the Barons left the ice to go back to their room, parents from the Huntington side threw water bottles at the players and a few even spat on them from the seats above.
What happened in Pierrefonds is not an isolated incident. According to the CBC, in 2013 a fight broke out during a youth soccer game in Barrie, ON, after a parent directed a racial slur at a parent on the other team. The slur occurred after parents for one of the teams disagreed with a call that a referee had made. The incident involved 30 parents and the police were called to break up the altercation.
Another altercation between parents occurred in Belleville, ON, when parents at a Bantam C hockey game started yelling obscenities at each other. According to the Toronto Sun, the incident escalated to a point where there were fist fights happening in the stands.
With behaviour like that being seen at youth sporting events, it begs the question: are parents taking their child’s sporting events too far?
For Lorraine Du Cap, a parent of a youth hockey player, parents are definitely going too far, especially when considering the fact that many kids are just playing for fun.
“I have seen so many incidents where parents start yelling at each other and then it just escalates,” Du Cap said. “Some parents take cheering on their child way too far it gets embarrassing.”
As someone who has played organized sports in the past, I have seen many instances where parents took things too far. Seeing parents fighting on the sidelines drains all of the fun out of the game, which is especially saddening when everyone is playing to have fun.
Parents need to realize that cheering on your child is perfectly fine, but do it in a respectful way. No matter what sport, everyone is out there participating because they love doing what they do. By being belligerent and picking fights, you are ultimately embarrassing your child and the sport.
At the end of each game, both teams shake hands. It’s a sign of respect for the game; a respect some parents seem to forget about in the moment.