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Can legalized violence, in the form of team sports, produce a well-balanced child?

Should a parent submit their child to team sports, aka legalized violence. How many times have I been at a house party of men and women, with a game on the tube, only to find the conversation in the kitchen more entertaining.

Granted, I didn't go in for sports much when I was younger. Remember, I was the one studying dinosaurs and the planets. However, we have all seen how fights break out on the ice or on the field and now, more than ever, how fights are breaking out in the stands as well.

It is also clear that some parents are having to bow to their mates when it comes to 'handling' their young one's athletic development, but I am not about marital conflict. This is about the kids, first and foremost.

You are not allowed to attack another human being while walking down the street. And certainly not with a stick. That is illegal. That is assault. So why is it tolerated in hockey? And let me remind you that if your spouse is keen on hockey, then so is your son, or daughter. They are likely watching it together, even if you are not around, or don't like it. What's with this indifference to violence?

Don't get me wrong. Hockey is a great sport. It takes tons of talent to work the puck at high speeds and be successful at this game. I am concerned about the tolerated, legalized violence that is permitted to go on, and its impact on children.

Are there any good team sports? Soccer, I'd say rates pretty high. Football... love it, it's about pitting one tank against another in close quarters. Few rarely get hurt. Rugby, on the other hand, caters to the impact, with no safety equipment. Now hockey has safety equipment, but everything is about speed. The skating, the shot, the save, and, of course the check into the boards, and the effervescent four letter words that follow. And don't forget that the players are wielding a stick!

Golf has a stick... not quite a team spot. Certainly not legalized violence. OK... how about Lacrosse. Actually, a fairly rough sport. The jury is still out on that one. Oh, let's not forget cricket. If anyone were to have an altercation over a match they would surely settle matters quickly over a spot of tea!

OK... internationally. The running of the bulls in Spain. Stupid, but not a team sport. The riding of the huge tree trucks in Japan. Again, a death wish, and astonishing, but not a team sport. Nope, I think North America has it sewn up with hockey.

This culture has a love affair with hockey and our children feed off of that enthusiasm. As parents, we have to consider the role hockey, or any other example of legalized violence, plays in our child's life. It cannot be taken 'with a grain of salt'. There will always be defenders of the sport, and they will proclaim its many virtues with respect to kids. One would be to build character, another strength, yet another is not to make Joey a wimp, and on and on.

The problem is that those making these proclamations have strong personalities because they were raised with the game, so you may lose. However, who is more likely to experience road rage, to trifle at lifting a candy bar from the store display, or butting in front of an elderly couple at the bank? Your call...

Legalized violence, in any form, should not exist in an aware, educated society. Even capital punishment, another discussion, and explanation for your children, is a moral dilemma for an enlightened society. What do you tell your kids? Hockey, as an example of legalized violence, is just the tip of the iceberg. Then again, I guess that won't be a problem much longer... cuz they're melting away!

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