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Cold Hard Rants

Cold Hard Rants: Being the Best Parent, Not a Best Friend

Buried deep in your local newspaper (providing yours isn’t on strike like ours is in Winnipeg), well behind stories of how much Sarah Palin spends on clothes, or which people won’t be running for the Liberal Leadership, or how Canadians were once again fooled into thinking Stephen Harper isn’t actually the anti-Christ, is hockey’s dirty little secret, and deep dark shame. I speak of David Frost specifically, and the cult of Junior Hockey generally.

For those of you who have been fortunate enough to avoid or unwilling to read the sordid tales being told in court, the key words you need to know are sexual exploitation, threesome, sixteen year olds, sexual positions, virgin, statutory rape, control, boss, follow the rules. Regardless of the legal outcome of the trial, I think the indecency of David Frost has been proven once and for all, and goes to show that Mike Danton/Jefferson may have been on the right path or at least not legally responsible due to mental instability suffered as a result of his connection with Frost.

I mention the trial and its details, not to disgust or disturb our readers, but rather to ensure that we remain vigilant at all times in regards to who is involved in minor hockey and who is coaching in minor hockey. I am well aware, having played minor hockey as a kid that 99.9 percent (all figures are approximate) of all people involved with coaching are positive influences, seeking only to educate and help youth in the trials and tribulations that is adolescence. At the same time, I am also not naive enough to believe that the safety nets and checks instituted after the Graham James situation will be a foolproof method to keep perverts away from children. They are perverts after all, and will do whatever they need to do to get their fix.

The one constant nagging feature of the Graham James/David Frost situations, to me, was that the parents/guardians of the players under his watch never once raised a concern over the amount of time he spent with his players. Graham James hosted sleepovers with his players. David Frost lives in the same hotel with his players. Does this sound like normal, proper behavior? When I was playing minor hockey, had I ever broached the idea of sleeping over at my coach’s house with my parents, I can assure you alarms and red flags would have been going off all over the place. Simply put, it’s not “normal”, appropriate behaviour. Not in the Mid 1990s and certainly not today. While there is no point, in re-victimizing those who suffered at the hands of James and Frost, one can’t help wonder at where the parents/guardians of their victims’ were at the time the assaults were on going.

In today’s day and age, kids are growing up faster than ever. They assert their independence at an earlier age and shed the protective womb of their parents earlier. While they may be more “experienced”, at the same time they may be more naïve, and are thus more susceptible to the wiles of evildoers like Frost and James. It’s a parent’s job to prevent their kids from becoming victims. Screw being their best friend, be their parent, and take the grief that will come from embarrassing your kid and get involved in their extra-curricular activities. Want to know that their coach is the upstanding man he seems to be from what your kid says? Become a Team Manager. Want to know that their coach is advancing their life-long education in a positive manner? Don’t treat him like a glorified day care, honking when you arrive to pick your kid up. Go inside and actually watch practice, and go to games. I promise you, that if you get involved you will know if your coach is one of the few, the despicable, the James and Frosts of the 21st century. And most importantly, you will be able to prevent your kids from becoming the Sheldon Kennedy and Mike Danton of the 21st century.

For Illegal Curve, I am Drew Mindell

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