Mandatory training

November 26, 2007

I’m a pretty typical suburban U.S. mother – a soccer Mom a/k/a “hockey Mom” of the minivan variety (read: boring vs. the sexy/gas-guzzly SUV variety). I limit my three kids to no more than two activities a ‘season.’ So right now we’re into the seven-month (ice) hockey season, short indoor lacrosse and indoor soccer seasons which carry over into the outdoor season, year-round ballet, and school year-long music lessons (what seasons?). Many are critical of this, even my own parents who become ‘exhausted’ when reading the schedule.Â

I’ve written about hockey before because it’s one of my favorite sports. Our youth hockey organization has a great group of parents I enjoy being around. Not so in many other organizations. Last year at a neighboring rink, some fans got into a fight and one ended up with a head injury in the hospital. This is youth hockey. Not the NY Rangers.

This is probably why hockey is the only sport where I have to watch a mandatory training video on how not to be a jerk.

I got thinking about why hockey is different – why it requires anti-jerk training. I think it’s probably due to violence-driven litigation at the youth level and the draw associated with the (condoned/’enforcer’-type) player fighting associated with the sport at the professional level. You know, the “I was at a fight and a hockey game broke out…”

It reminds me of mandatory compliance-type training that speaks to our common sense. We might just as well align our ‘common-sense’ compliance training with the adult education program (“relax, it’s just a game) in hockey.

“Relax, it’s just a password video or “Oops don’t get us sued” e-learning. Training for the masses based on the actions of a few. Ugh.

Meanwhile, I only screamed once or twice during the four games I attended this tournament weekend. Mostly just “skate Drew skate!” as he chased after a breakaway (he’s a defenseman). Better take the mandatory training again. Ugh

Photos: Mom from this Mom t-shirt shopand harassment from this law firm. Gotta love the irony.

  • http://karynromeis.blogspot.com/ Karyn Romeis

    I flatly refuse to be trained out of the habit of screaming at the sidelines of my children’s events. Neither my husband nor I knew what it was to have supportive parents cheering us on at sport… and we were both pretty good at it. We have often commented to each other how we felt the lack of that support.

    As a consequence, there is (almost) always someone there when one of our boys competes, performs or participates. And they will know it. They will know that we are there and that we are rooting for them. I have never heard a sportsman/woman say in his/her victory speech “I wish the crowd would shut up!” They all thank the spectators and say how they felt encouraged by the support.

    So we’ve done (and continue to do) a lot of cheering and encouraging: hockey, cricket, drama, music gigs, athletics (track and field), art exhibitions and chess tournaments.

    If that makes me a jerk, I shall wear the epithet with defiance.

    The one thing I will say, though, is that parents were always banned from the competition space of chess tournaments – and with good reason. The sighs of frustration, snorts of derision and gasps of dismay at the elbows of the players caused the kids far too much stress.

  • http://karynromeis.blogspot.com Karyn Romeis

    I flatly refuse to be trained out of the habit of screaming at the sidelines of my children’s events. Neither my husband nor I knew what it was to have supportive parents cheering us on at sport… and we were both pretty good at it. We have often commented to each other how we felt the lack of that support.

    As a consequence, there is (almost) always someone there when one of our boys competes, performs or participates. And they will know it. They will know that we are there and that we are rooting for them. I have never heard a sportsman/woman say in his/her victory speech “I wish the crowd would shut up!” They all thank the spectators and say how they felt encouraged by the support.

    So we’ve done (and continue to do) a lot of cheering and encouraging: hockey, cricket, drama, music gigs, athletics (track and field), art exhibitions and chess tournaments.

    If that makes me a jerk, I shall wear the epithet with defiance.

    The one thing I will say, though, is that parents were always banned from the competition space of chess tournaments – and with good reason. The sighs of frustration, snorts of derision and gasps of dismay at the elbows of the players caused the kids far too much stress.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    I agree with you and grieve over the potential of crossing some arbitrary line and getting my kid kicked out of a sport. Un-freakin’ believable, no?

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    I agree with you and grieve over the potential of crossing some arbitrary line and getting my kid kicked out of a sport. Un-freakin’ believable, no?

  • http://www.daveswhiteboard.com/ Dave Ferguson

    While some hockey fans may set a higher value on physicality (“…if there’s no blood on the ice, you weren’t playing hard enough…”), I’ve witnessed plenty of bad parental behavior on the sidelines of soccer and basketball games.

    It’s not “go, Ashley, go.” It’s “give the ball to Shamika” (as in, “don’t be so stupid as to try and move it yourself”) or “can’t you do ANYTHING right?”

    It’s also arguing bitterly and obscenely with a volunteer referee about a call in a game between two sets of 13-year-olds.

    One league in the Washington DC area went to SILENT games, in which the spectators were not allowed to shout at all — an overreaction, clearly, but simpler for the (volunteer, often teenage) referee to manage.

    Your situation is of course not “training;” at the worst, it’s sheepdip; at the best, it’s the communication of a standard.

    Nothing wrong with the latter, per se. A former boss did an excellent job in “diversity awareness” sessions for GE. The thrust of the session was: we need as many talented people as we can get; some behaviors can make people feel unwanted; unwanted people will tend to go elsewhere; here are examples of behaviors that we discourage; here are examples of behaviors we won’t tolerate.

    No attempt to get people to say “hijabs are good.” Just making clear that as an organization, we don’t care if someone’s wearing a hijab, and we don’t want someone’s behavior to hinder the performance of a person wearing one.

    At the Developer Acres Community Soccer League, alas, you don’t have a CEO who can fire the parents who just don’t get it.

  • http://www.daveswhiteboard.com/ Dave Ferguson

    While some hockey fans may set a higher value on physicality (“…if there’s no blood on the ice, you weren’t playing hard enough…”), I’ve witnessed plenty of bad parental behavior on the sidelines of soccer and basketball games.

    It’s not “go, Ashley, go.” It’s “give the ball to Shamika” (as in, “don’t be so stupid as to try and move it yourself”) or “can’t you do ANYTHING right?”

    It’s also arguing bitterly and obscenely with a volunteer referee about a call in a game between two sets of 13-year-olds.

    One league in the Washington DC area went to SILENT games, in which the spectators were not allowed to shout at all — an overreaction, clearly, but simpler for the (volunteer, often teenage) referee to manage.

    Your situation is of course not “training;” at the worst, it’s sheepdip; at the best, it’s the communication of a standard.

    Nothing wrong with the latter, per se. A former boss did an excellent job in “diversity awareness” sessions for GE. The thrust of the session was: we need as many talented people as we can get; some behaviors can make people feel unwanted; unwanted people will tend to go elsewhere; here are examples of behaviors that we discourage; here are examples of behaviors we won’t tolerate.

    No attempt to get people to say “hijabs are good.” Just making clear that as an organization, we don’t care if someone’s wearing a hijab, and we don’t want someone’s behavior to hinder the performance of a person wearing one.

    At the Developer Acres Community Soccer League, alas, you don’t have a CEO who can fire the parents who just don’t get it.

  • http://www.daveswhiteboard.com Dave Ferguson

    While some hockey fans may set a higher value on physicality (“…if there’s no blood on the ice, you weren’t playing hard enough…”), I’ve witnessed plenty of bad parental behavior on the sidelines of soccer and basketball games.

    It’s not “go, Ashley, go.” It’s “give the ball to Shamika” (as in, “don’t be so stupid as to try and move it yourself”) or “can’t you do ANYTHING right?”

    It’s also arguing bitterly and obscenely with a volunteer referee about a call in a game between two sets of 13-year-olds.

    One league in the Washington DC area went to SILENT games, in which the spectators were not allowed to shout at all — an overreaction, clearly, but simpler for the (volunteer, often teenage) referee to manage.

    Your situation is of course not “training;” at the worst, it’s sheepdip; at the best, it’s the communication of a standard.

    Nothing wrong with the latter, per se. A former boss did an excellent job in “diversity awareness” sessions for GE. The thrust of the session was: we need as many talented people as we can get; some behaviors can make people feel unwanted; unwanted people will tend to go elsewhere; here are examples of behaviors that we discourage; here are examples of behaviors we won’t tolerate.

    No attempt to get people to say “hijabs are good.” Just making clear that as an organization, we don’t care if someone’s wearing a hijab, and we don’t want someone’s behavior to hinder the performance of a person wearing one.

    At the Developer Acres Community Soccer League, alas, you don’t have a CEO who can fire the parents who just don’t get it.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Eloquently stated Dave, as always. It would be nice if companies just said, ‘we have a standard we want to make sure you are aware of’ vs. calling it training. Just say what it is.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Eloquently stated Dave, as always. It would be nice if companies just said, ‘we have a standard we want to make sure you are aware of’ vs. calling it training. Just say what it is.

Previous post:

Next post: