I hope every parent involved in minor sports reads “Rink rage” (Cover, March 26). I just suffered through a season of Ontario Midget A hockey, and this article is all too familiar. I’ve witnessed a player swing a stick at a coach, a player kneeing another with intent to injure, players catcalling parents, incompetent refereeing and, yes, atrocious behaviour from ignorant parents and coaches. Come on, Canada, remember why we’re in the stands and keep hockey the game it was meant to be.
It appears that you took the easy road and regurgitated the hockey establishment’s viewpoint. It is not that referees are totally incompetent, it’s just that they drive people crazy by selectively and inconsistently suspending the rules of hockey. Since checking from behind became the call du jour, boarding and charging, which are just about as dangerous, have been forgotten. Clutch and grab prevails. Hooking is rampant and the happy hookers are ignored by the officials, unless a player is obviously brought down. Gross and obvious interference has become an integral part of the game. Insidious stick work leaves a lot of cuts and bruises—which, in
most instances, isn’t caught. We’ve all forgotten that the rules of the game were established to protect the players. Robert Matheson, London, Ont.
The first thing you learn when umpiring baseball is that every time you make a call at least half the people on the diamond aren’t going to like it. What really gets me is that the players make mistakes and then blame us for the results. Knowing that most of the folks yelling at me are ignorant of the rules gives me some relief. More than once I’ve offered to let some obnoxious idiot take over: I don’t go to their workplace and yell at them.
Joe Belanger, Windsor, Ont.
I’m 17 and I referee hockey games in Melfort, Sask. Somebody told me that Melfort refs are paid the most in Saskatchewan, but frankly, sometimes it isn’t worth the name-calling and belittling. Even people who have no idea how to play the game scream at you. I always have to think to myself: “If it’s so easy, why aren’t they out here?” I’ve gained a huge respect for referees since I started the job.
Tim Hoenmans, Melfort, Sask.
The majority of parents do not expect refs to be perfect, but we do expect them to be fair. I had occasion to watch a soccer game in which the two teams were not evenly matched and the referee called a game that gave extreme advantage to the weaker team. The stronger team was almost unable to play, since they were called on every transgression (real and perceived), while the weaker team was allowed to get away with almost everything. The stronger team became frustrated. It was not a pleasant experience. The referee
seemed to feel justified in calling the game based on his perception of who needed help rather than on the rules. Although this may come as a surprise to some referees, most parents do know the difference between an honest mistake and a biased call.
Wesna Rasic, Winnipeg
I have two young boys who absolutely love hockey, yet I refuse to have them play the game. As long as these selfrighteous hypocrites (who want their kids to bodycheck other kids, but no player can hit their kid) sit in the stands and terrorize hockey leagues, you will not see me or my kids there. It is a horrible stain on our national game. Clarence Snieder, Brampton, Ont.
In the past three days, I have heard of rink rage, surf rage, computer rage, road rage and air rage. Is it not a case of poor life skills, lack of self-control, selfishness, ignorance and assaultive behaviour? Or am I developing rage rage?
Dermot Monaghan, Amherst, N.S.
The Delhi team in your article was not the Delhi Legion Peewees but a houseleague team from the same town. Our legion team, by the way, went on to win the All-Ontario championship on March 25 by beating the peewee team from Exeter.
Norm Ramsey, Delhi, Ont.
George W. Malaprop
Andrew Phillips points out that the American media are going out of their way to help George W. Bush’s utterances make sense (“What was that he
The art of hockey
Shades of The Saturday Evening Post. Congratulations on your decision to portray your March 26 cover story (“Rink rage”) in the form of an illustration—beautifully rendered by Greg Banning. In an era of in-your-face video cameras and invasive still photography, your cover painting said what no lens could ever say.
John Barton, Qualicum Beach, B.C.
Letters to the Editor
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said?” March 26), then proceeds to do so himself by stating Bush is in a “losing batde with grammar and syntax.” Nonsense; grammar and syntax are not the problem, as Bush’s sentences will reveal. The problems are in his almost constant malapropisms, which betray a mind unable to discern between various concepts and various usages. God help America!
Pierce Graham, Kamloops, B.C.
George W. Bush and Jean Chrétien should get along: neither can be deciphered.
George Johnson, Windsor, Ont.
Quality time defined
Will the real Barbara Amiel—the stand-up comic, that is—please sit down? I can’t take any more. My sides are sore from laughing. New depths in name-dropping and new highs in oversimplification made the funniest column so far this year (“Aging in the fast lane,” March 26), far funnier than anything Dr. Foth has attempted. But then, those people trying to find quality time with their children while holding down two jobs to make ends meet do need a good laugh.
Jack Francis, Winnipeg
Farmers in peril
The problems facing livestock producers in Europe today are devastating. Eíowever, as a young farmer here in Quebec, I, too, am facing challenges that threaten the future of my livelihood. While the European problems have received extensive coverage (“Drastic measures,” Canada and the World, March 26), the day of protest held in various Canadian cities on March 14 by Canadian farmers received little more than a blurb in the Canada Notes section (“ ‘The death of agriculture,’ ” March 26). The next generation of Canadian farmers is being driven off the farm by unfair trade practices that resulted in sub-
cost-of-production prices for our products. If the current situation in Europe brings to light anything for me, it is the importance of maintaining a healthy and strong food supply right here in Canada. An immediate influx of money is required to stop the bleeding, and then a long-term plan must be undertaken by the federal government to protect Canadian farms.
Roy Taylor, St-Etienne-de-Beauharno¡s, Que.
Protest for the future
Even at 18, I have witnessed aspects of the environment being adversely affected because of the mismanagement of many countries’ ecological systems. The Earth has exceeded its limits: the top 200 global corporations have combined economies bigger than 128 of the world’s poorest countries combined, and Wal-Mart is bigger than 163 countries. In the past decade or so, the number of people living in extreme poverty (less than a dollar a day) has increased by 200 million. Yet 200 of the world’s richest people have doubled their incomes in the past four years. For all those who believe the anti-globalization movement (“Leaning to the left,” The Mail, March 26) is a hippie revival, I think it is going to be very interesting when they look around some day, wondering what went wrong, when the Earth and its ecosystems have finally snapped. See y’all in Quebec City.
Michael R. Caissie, Hampton, N.B.
Why not find a secluded area, maybe in the desert somewhere, fire some rounds of depleted uranium shells into it and then offer a nice little holiday on-site to all the skeptics of the long-term effects of these weapons on soldiers (“Lethal weapons,” Special Report/Canada and the World, March 19). We could then wait and see if any subsequent ailments develop.
Furthermore, this would save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on scientific research.
Paolo Barbiéri, Ingersoll, Ont.
In glass houses
I don’t wish to diminish in any way the talent of Canadian singer Nelly Furtado or the favourable review given to her by the Daily Express in Britain (Overture, March 26). I simply need to rebut the pompous statement by the Express that her “Canadian compatriots” have inflicted “taste genocide.” This coming from a publication in a country that has given us a history of sleazy political scandals, the tacdess antics of the Royal Family, a tabloid press that has taken the art of journalism to new lows, and the exceedingly questionable contribution of the Spice Girls. That’s a big glass house the Daily Express lives in. We are not amused.
Louise Hartig, Kitimat, B.C.
Reality in Alberta
“The wisdom of little Ralph” (Allan Fotheringham, March 26) is one of the doctor’s good columns. It’s an accurate snapshot of the Alberta premier, and it contains an accurate telling of Ralph Klein’s attitude towards his critics. I am one of “these other people” for whom Klein says “a chunk of the sky is falling every single day.” In the best of all cities, in the best of all provinces, a food-bank donation box has been permanently installed in our church. And we have recently joined other churches in a rotating shelter program so homeless people do not have to sleep outdoors in winter. I’m not saying these things are all Klein’s fault, but they were not here before he came on the scene. People who are comfortable tend to forget people who are not. That includes Klein, and the overwhelming majority who keep electing him.
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