What I Learned, as a Hockey Parent, from "I, Tonya"
The movie I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney is the biopic on the life of figure skater Tonya Harding, who, in 1994, was accused of being involved in a physical attack on competitor Nancy Kerrigan. If you don't know this story, click here to read the Wikipedia version of events.
After seeing this movie I realized it is a must-see for hockey parents.
Not because of the sensational scandal and media circus. Not because it depicts the rise and fall of a talented athlete. Not because it has a first rate cast, is well directed and scripted, but because LaVona Harding, played by Allison Janney is one of the worst examples of a sports parent you will ever see.
What I re-learned from LaVona:
1) Don't ever force yourself onto the ice (literally) and try to bully your kid's coach into training them. Even if you think your kid is going to the NHL.
2) Chain smoking is not only bad for your health but looks real bad as you stand by the boards of the rink among all the other parents yelling "You call that a clean skate?" Thank goodness no one is allowed to smoke in rinks anymore. This advice goes for yelling at refs about bad calls, and other parents too.
3) Don't ever refer to another player as the "enemy" even during tryouts. Name calling does not make friends, make your kid better, or get you in good graces with any coach, officials, fellow parents or competitors. This is the fastest way to become an outsider.
4) Don't get bullied by other parents to buy the latest equipment, space in that hell-no-it-is-too-expensive hockey camp or as shown in the film, a fur coat. And for the love of all that is holy don't try to make a coat yourself (see the film, I won't repeat it here). I can say that I have been victim to certain snide comments from another goalie mom about my daughter's less-than-superior quality pads and "Weren't they just a little too small?" I did not buy or try to make her new pads but I did invite the goalie mom to buy her a set herself if it bothered her so much.
5) Heckling your own kid just because you think it makes them play better is just wrong. Paying someone else to do it? Even worse. That goes for car coaching, screaming instructions from the bleachers, and pounding the glass to get their attention.
6) You might want to pay attention to who your player befriends, dates, or marries. Otherwise they might end up in a media circus scandal involving a knee-bashing and subsequent removal from the sport. Stranger things have happened.
Have you seen I, Tonya? What are your thoughts?