Unless you were actually there, no one truly knows yet what exactly happened to start the physical altercation at the Quest for the Cup three-on-three tournament in Lethbridge last weekend.
The tournament was for 7 to 12 year-olds. An unsanctioned, supposedly fun, recreational tournament.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, it lasts all of ten seconds. Prior to the cell phone from the stands video, a 10 year-old player in one of the games slashed the referee with his stick a couple of times with the referee pushing him down. This caused five adults to jump on the ice where they, the referee and the coach of the opposing team got into a physical altercation. Charges were laid to one man as of press time.
The video and the case itself is getting a lot of publicity and the video itself itself getting thousands of hits on YouTube.
It says a lot for all of us when ten seconds of grainy video can be so compelling and fascinating.
If one does a quick search on YouTube, it is obvious this isn’t the first time that a fight or brawl has started on the ice at a youth sporting event let alone hockey game. It is rare when referees get involved physically.
What happened is sad and disappointing, not because there’s another example of violence in sports but because it is another example of how little regard we have for one another.
Every year, for example the message of fair play and sportsmanship is trumped by various sports organizations on the eve of another season. Recently, there has been a push by these organizations to post quite clearly a message to parents about being respectful in the stands: don’t verbally browbeat game officials, your child or opposing team members or fellow parents.
We have to be told not to be jerks. I guess now we have to be told not to jump on the ice and physically assault game officials or the opposing team’s coaches. Not everyone realizes it or has the capacity to do so.
And if you think it can’t happen to you, remember the last time you were in an arena, or school gymnasium or soccer pitch, remember that annoying father who wouldn’t shut up or that referee who seemed like he was cheating for the other team… what did you want to do? Everyone has different levels of tolerance.
Perhaps it seems like a far fetched, out of reach and impossible and daresay many will say is a silly concept, what it comes down to is: we all need to relax, take a deep breath and respect and care about one another.
This is true whether you are screaming at the ref for a missed call or turning a blind eye to someone in distress at a park, we all need to find some level of empathy and maybe a little compassion.
In this case in Lethbridge, whether you are ten years old or in your fifties, if just one person on that arena’s ice surface or the ones who ran onto the ice from the stands would have stopped and realized what they were doing, of what little significance in the greater scheme of things the game and tournament was, none of this would have happened.
And most importantly, none of the trouble for everyone which is forthcoming. The player will have to live with that through his entire life, those who came onto the ice to fight the referee now have to face the ramifications, the assistant coach who got decked on the ice and of course the referee and what he could have done differently.
So many wrongs and it will take a long time to make it right.