No excuse for post-victory violence

I don’t pay much attention to hockey anymore.

I don’t watch TV anymore, and I don’t know whether they broadcast the games on radio like they did when I used to listen to the Bruins’ games on WKBS in ancient times when Bobby Orr was still the greatest hockey player who ever lived.

But who needs TV or radio when the hoops and hollers down the street  tell you all you need to know about a game’s outcome.

Being on the winning side feels good, but violence committed in conjunction with celebrating a sports victory is appalling.

I don’t follow hockey, but I do follow the news, and it seems to me that the growth in post-win celebrations is equal to the growth of on-ice violence.The growing violence in hockey was one of the reasons I quit watching what used to be my favourite sport.

I was still watching in 1969 when St. Louis Blues forward Wayne Maki conked Bruins defenseman Ted Green over the head with his stick during an exhibition game, causing a fractured skull and brain injury. Just a month before, the NHL made helmets mandatory for new players. The “veterans” hated them, but Green had to wear one afterwards  to protect the metal plate in his skull.

What was then the hockey fight of the decade (or more) has become far too comon as violence is condoned, expected and encouraged because it sells tickets.

A male acquaintance once told me that when guys were playing sports and the testosterone was running rampant, it was natural for players to take their aggression out on each other.

So why not the fans? Are discipline and self-control outdated and irrelevant? I don’t believe so. But it does takes effort on the part of coaches, teachers and parents to instill these and other values.

Some values change with each generation, but the values that make us all decent human beings and allow us to form communities cannot be lost.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal