In an arena half full – I was surrounded by adults cheering for teenagers fighting. It wasn’t controlled fighting, like karate, MMA, or boxing, but the fighting that comes with anger and frustration.
We don’t let teens drink until they are 19, and drive until they are 16, because the system says they are too young for that, but we will let teenaged guys fight for our entertainment.
This kind of fighting, in normal circumstances, we would stop, discourage, and punish as assault, but because it is part of a hockey game, it seems to be okay. Sure there is a brief timeout, but largely it is allowed.
I find it disgusting to see a 40-year-old man catcall and cheer as a teenager heads off the ice with a bleeding, possibly broken nose. The fight happened early in the second period, the team that was losing took to fighting back instead of playing harder. The crowd cheered them on. The fighting continued largely for the rest of the game.
The pregnant woman sitting behind me said, “This is the reason I don’t want my kids to play hockey.” Her partner was loudly cheering the fighting. So fighting in hockey is not good for your kids, but okay for the kids of someone else?
All and all I find fighting in sport barbaric. Well any sport that fighting isn’t a part of that is, I don’t have a problem with boxing or martial arts etc. It shouldn’t be a part of hockey at any level – but especially not junior hockey. It takes away from the sport. What about sportsmanship? You don’t see basketball, football or soccer players fighting or if they do, there are serious consequences.
But my anger isn’t at the hockey players or even the coaches really; it’s the cheering of the crowd that angers me. It feels like we haven’t moved so far from the Romans in the coliseum. Thumbs down.