What Not to Say in the Lobby
Another parent found this out the hard way last weekend. Right after an early-bird tournament game, we were standing in the lobby when a dad from the other team said to his mother, “That was not a very good team.” Two weeks into the season, written off over one loss, out loud in front of parents from the other team. A couple of us turned and made eye contact, just long enough for him to realize, “Oh, there are people around. People I don’t know. People from the other team.” He slunk out to the parking lot to wait by the car.
And people don’t save their criticism for the other team. One parent lamented saying, “That kid looked good in tryouts, but has no idea how to play hockey,” in the lobby after a game. And then having to explain it to the player’s father. These aren’t bad people; they maybe just feel a little too comfortable and free to speak at the rink. But you never know whose grandparent, sibling or best friend is nearby, so keep your analysis to yourself—at least until you’re in private. Think of it as email, where you don’t write anything about anyone you wouldn’t want forwarded to that person.
A few things not to say, straight from parents who’ve learned the hard way:
- Anything in the “them’s fightin’ words” category about the other team.
- That was boring, just watching them/us score one goal after another.
- If we only had a goalie who could stop a puck once in a while we would be a good team.
- Our defense is killing us.
- He needs to learn to skate. (Or any variation thereof: She can’t even skate. He can’t skate backwards.)
- How come we don’t have anyone on the team who can score a goal?
- What in the world is the coach doing putting that kid in on the power play? I mean it is travel hockey and we are trying to win.
- Do you think the coach has a clue about how to put a team together?
- The ref gave that game to them. (Referees and linesman have parents, too. And if they can’t drive, their parents are waiting. That’s right, in the lobby.)
What you don’t say can matter as well. Goaltenders’ parents frequently confide that, after a bad game, other parents avoid them in the lobby. Conversely, parents congratulate them after their player has a good game. They find both situations awkward—and this is precisely why people talk about the weather.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kelly Kordes Anton with the Grow the Game Initiative for this story.
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