Look out, Tie Domi -- your cakewalk to Jerkass Hockey Parent of the Week honours has a challenger.
Domi's apparent brother-in-rage-addiction is Bob Baird, a hockey coach in Woodstock, Ont., where my dear friend Darryl G. Smart is sports editor of the Sentinel-Review. Angry Bob is head coach of the Woodstock Boston Pizza novice select team, meaning he has ultimate say on all decisions concerning the team of seven- to eight-year-olds. Don't act like you're not impressed.
The minor hockey executive in Woodstock recently decided to no longer ice bogus "select" teams (see footnote 1), saying it impeded the development of the majority of its young players. Some parents couldn't take the ego hit and the Sentinel-Review did a story about the dispute on March 29. It came complete with -- as you would have guessed -- an illustration of an earlier submitted picture of Angry Bob's precious team being burned, for artistic purposes. It was a ballsy, it ignited (pun intended) discussion and it probably helped sell papers.
In other words, Darryl G. Smart and staff photog. Elliott Ferguson were just doing their jobs. You would hope Angry Bob might realize, "Hey, I don't like it that it's my kid in that picture, but such is life. It could be worse. There's kids younger than him over in Darfur facing much, much worse," and laugh it off. That's the sensible reaction you would want from someone who deals with anyone's children.
"A POWER-TRIPPER'S TWISTED TAKE ON 'TEAM PRIDE' "
Instead, Angry Bob sent out a mass e-mail to team parents containing Darryl's work e-mail address and instructions to "let him have it," which they have. Angry Bob wrote a fairly insane, mildly fascist letter to the editor which demanded the Sentinel-Review's publisher provide:
"... two life-size images of the sports editor and the photographer by Thursday, April 5. This way I will be able to take them with me to our last tournament of the year and place both images on the floor of the dressing room, with the understanding all players, coaches and parents must walk on the images or face the consequences of having to deliver papers for the Sentinel."
It's a little funny, but Angry Bob's reaction should make anyone think twice about him being given another team to coach until he sorts out his anger issues. Would you want anyone's kid under the control of a moron who goes off the deep end like that, even as a joke?
This so-called mentor to impressionable young minds could have used this episode to impart a lesson about finding common ground, accepting differing viewpoints and thinking for yourself. All those qualities go a lot farther in the real world than some power-tripping wannabe offering a twisted take on "team pride." Not only that, but isn't a paper route generally a good way for kids to learn the value of money and hard work?
Angry Bob could have manned up, contacted Darryl and tried to work toward common ground. If you want to "send a message," as they say in hockey, that would have been a good start, considering this matter involves impressionable young kids who need to learn to solve conflicts. Instead, we get a water-bottle despot trying to "educate" us about sports (see footnote 2).
News flash, Angry Bob: If you actually knew your elbow from second base when it comes to sports, you probably wouldn't draw analogies between a team of kids in Grades 2 and 3 and the London Knights of the elite Ontario Hockey League, then put it in a letter to the editor. He actually did this.
A LINE IN THE ICE
We've seen this way too often -- the power-tripper who thinks everyone should bend down and kiss the hem of his hockey jacket.
It's not for nothing this happens to my buddy Darryl the same week Domi, the former Leafs enforcer, is in the news for verbally accosting his 11-year-old son's hockey coach. The effect of glorifying Domi-types is a time-honoured part of the spectacle of pro hockey, but it's created a Domi Nation -- otherwise normal people who think it's OK to start acting like a human wart once they pass through the arena doors.
Too many Angry Bobs have thrived too miserably for far too long. When one of their ilk messes with a friend and fellow journalist who's just doing his job, it's time to draw a line.
This aggression cannot stand. I am sick and tired of reading about Angry Bob types who drag hockey down with their sheer, unadulterated dumbassery.
Ninety-eight per cent of the people involved in hockey are better than this, but that won't matter unless we help the Angry Bob types learn to know their role.
Bob Baird, your job is to make sure children learn hockey skills, learn how to get along in the world and leave the rink smiling. You just set a terrible example. You coach novice hockey -- and sure as there is a God in heaven, you shouldn't even get do that until you solve your anger issues.
Darryl G. Smart portfolio (newspagedesigner.com)
Defending Those Idiot Baseball Coaches... (Aug. 14, 2006)
- Select teams are not to be confused with real travel-team hockey or "rep hockey," as it's called in Canada. It mainly exists so insecure parents can avoid the nightmare of seeing their next Sidney Crosby reduced to skating with all the peons in house league. Whether or not their kid future NHL millionaire has fun and leaves the rink happy is irrelevant -- remember, the parents pay the money, damn it, and bang for the buck trumps well-adjusted children.
Oddly enough, these teams are often called "minor development" and "alternative entry." No one can look in the mirror and just admit it's a B team (the B is for the Boost it gives to the parents' egos, or it could be for Bogus).
- Baird, dumbass that he was being, actually wrote "it is obvious to me neither the sports editor nor the photographer who took this offensive image could have ever played team sports."
Oh, the irony: The sports editor in question not only played goal in Junior A hockey, but has also coached at a higher level than Baird does presently. Darryl was on the staff of a ballclub which won the Canadian midget boys fastpitch championship in 2001.
More ironic yet, Darryl even has a sports-minded daughter who's about the same age as the kids Angry Bob coaches. Seems they would have some common ground if Angry Bob had only pulled his head out of his butt long enough to look.
That's all for now. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.