It’s entirely possible that, by now, you have heard the story of 12-year old Kayla Watkins.
If you have not, the details are here, in the Toronto Star. I got so angry reading this story that I had to absorb it in sections, taking breaks to calm myself. I have had the gross misfortune (there is just no other term for it), over the years at my children’s schools, of working with parents just like the one that targeted Kayla. They are juvenile, mean-spirited and completely self-centred. And, unfortunately, our society gives their kind an equal voice in matters. And Kayla’s is one case where all are not created equal.
In brief, Kayla played on a peewee hockey team. That’s all that matters. It does not matter that she was the only girl on the team. It does not matter that her skill level did not make her one of the team’s best players. What matters is that the father of another player on the team decided that Kayla had to go. He oh-so-cleverly couched her exclusion as an agenda item at a parents’-only meeting. It was parents only because no coach worth an ounce of anything would have stood by and allowed this discussion to happen.
The myopic parent made up a litany of horses**t excuses about why Kayla shouldn’t be on the team. He stated that her sex was irrelevant – yet made the comment that dressing with the boys was causing problems. I’ll tell you the only problem here folks. It’s that low-lifes like this guy actually get away with doing what he did to young Kayla. Boy, it sure takes a big man to go face-to-face with a 12-year old girl. He must be so proud of himself. Come to think of it, he didn’t even have the stones to go face-to-face.
You know, maybe this guy is doing everyone on the Toronto IceDogs’ team a favour. Think about it. He’s showing other parents and players alike the complete opposite of how to behave like a mature adult. I hope the other parents make it a learning op for the youngsters involved.
Kayla’s team was 10th out of 12 in the league. Ya, I’m sure Kayla’s play was the big roadblock to moving up to 9th. Since when does “A”-level hockey for 12-year olds mean anything but fun and exercise? It makes me so sad to know that Kayla quit the team because she felt that she’d be the object of intense scrutiny. That’s OK for professionals to endure, but not elementary-school children.
Frankly, I don’t exactly understand how other team parents could sit and listen to this guy blather on at the parents’-only meeting. If that’s not “Get up and walk out” time, I don’t know what is.
This is not a male-female issue – but it became one quickly. The media is wrong to promote that. It’s an easy way to sensationalize the story. But it’s not necessary. The bottom line is that a parent with a very selfish agenda targeted a young person on his son’s minor-hockey team.
In my little world, teams pull in the same direction. They work together, no matter what. They stand up for each other. They help each other. They support each other – all the time. And that doesn’t just apply to the skaters on the ice. It is in force with the parents too. It’s a shame some people don’t have the ability to understand that.