Tuesday, 29 June 2010

We Need Parenting Licenses

There are a lot of things that parents should do to help their children become well-rounded, respectful people as they mature into adults. Teaching important lessons and instilling morals and good ethics are paramount in ensuring that those children grow up to be productive segments of society. However, there seems to be a growing shortage of one important ingredient that children need. Without this ingredient, we have chaos. That important ingredient is "common sense", and two families in Toronto apparently missed the line where they were handing out common sense for free. It's one thing for parents to protect a child's best interests, but two families in Toronto have entered the range of irresponsible and idiotic with their current actions.

Sean Leahy of Yahoo's Puck Daddy blog was the first to pick this story up and elaborate on it, but the Toronto Star broke the story of Vito Valela and David Longo, parents of two boys who were cut from a Greater Toronto Hockey League team. Christopher Valela and Daniel Longo were cut from the Avalanche Minor Sports Club midget junior A team during tryouts in April.

Normally when players get cut, parents are supportive of their children despite the setback. You hear lots of positive reinforcement and some rationale on why the child was cut. It's heartbreaking sometimes, but it's a fact of life: there are only so many spots on a team, and sometimes cuts have to be made.

The lessons that can be taught here are many. Being "cut" from a team is something every single player in every single sport has experienced. One of the most famous "cuts" came when Michael Jordan was cut from his varsity high school basketball team. We all know how Mr. Jordan's basketball career panned out, but the lessons he learned from being cut were never forgotten. Being cut is an important life lesson, but it's not the end of the world.

Unless, of course, your names are Vito Valela and David Longo.

Were their children heartbroken over being cut? Undoubtedly. From personal experience, there may not be a worse feeling in the world. After all, you're essentially being told that you're not good enough, and I have yet to meet anyone who takes that news well. This is where, from my experience, a parent steps in and helps the child cope with the disappointment to get through experience. Again, it's an important lesson that all children need to learn.

Or, you could simply file a frivolous lawsuit against the minor hockey association.

According to Mr. Longo's lawsuit, by cutting Daniel, the coaches, team, and GTHL "caused irreparable psychological damage to Daniel Longo’s self esteem as an impressionable teenager and demoralized Daniel as an athlete and team hockey player with his peers. The conduct by all defendants destroyed the dignity of my son, whom in good conscience gave his team nothing but his best efforts."

WHAT?!? Um... are you for real? Seriously?

Oh, we're not done? According to Mr. Valela, "When Christopher was advised of his termination by my wife and I, he vowed never to play the game he loved since childhood. And, morevoer[sic], his misguided group of defendants demoralized my wife and I, whom had gone well beyond the call of duty as parents in support of the Toronto Avalanche hockey team for two seasons."

Here comes a rant. Close your eyes, kids, because Teebz is about to go off.

First off, Christopher Valela's vow of never playing hockey again? Already dead in the water. The "demoralized" child has already joined the Hillcrest Summits team, proving that he's clearly too distraught to play hock... um, never mind.

Clearly, Christopher has already put this behind him. I'm not going to suggest that the thought of him being cut doesn't bother him still. That's a given - it's something that everyone has to deal with in their own way. But for Mr. Valela to claim that his son will never play hockey again despite already having signed up for a new team? I call HORSEPOOP!

This is not a civil case for the courts. If I were the judge in this case, I'd throw both Vito Valela and David Longo behind bars for a night for contempt of court for wasting taxpayer's money and time with their ridiculous lawsuits. These are the DUMBEST lawsuits I have seen since Jonathan Lee Riches filed his lawsuits. In fact, these lawsuits might be worse.

Instead of teaching their sons to be better people by rising above the setback, both Mr. Valela and Mr. Longo are now looking to blame everyone but themselves and their children for failing to make the team. It's petty, it's small, and it's absolutely sickening. Add into the fact that they are asking for $25,000 from a minor hockey association, the coaches, and the team, and what you have are two men who are living vicariously through their two children.

By cutting both Christopher and Daniel, Vito Valela and David Longo also feel slighted. Since their children can no longer be part of the team, these two "men" - and I use that term loosely - are taking matters into their own hands, and the method they have chosen to resolve this is absolutely disgusting.

These are the kinds of hockey parents of which the sport needs to rid itself. Quite frankly, I'm 100% on the GTHL's side on this one. Hopefully, the courts will use common sense and also agree.

There are a lot of things that parents should do to help their children become well-rounded, respectful people as they mature into adults. The example set forth by Mr. Valela and Mr. Longo is not one of those things.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Idaho State Sports Information said...

I love this blog Teebz!

JTH said...

If I were the judge I'd throw out the suits on the grounds that both plaintiffs used "whom" when they should have used "who."

Because only smart people use the word "whom", right?

Oh, and because Mr. Valela uses "I" where he should use "me" not once, but twice.

(Judges in Canada can do that, right?)

Teebz said...

Thanks, Frank!

JTH - these two jerks need a dose of reality. Let's hope the judicial system hands out a few slaps upside the head! :o)