Excuse me, Mr. Woods?

So we all know the legend of the hockey parent. Or do we?
Let me explain.
A “hockey parent” is one who believes their son or daughter will be the next Wayne Gretzky. This usually has to do with the fact they had the kid on the ice 12 hours a day since, well, basically from birth.
They often are known to be saying things such as: “Jimmy Jr. sure has a natural ability on the ice, don’t you think?”
They also are the ones who scream and yell in the stands, embarrassing their child—and nobody even knows what they’re yelling about. That’s a “hockey parent.”
So what if I told you there was a sport that generates even worse parents? I call it the “Tiger Woods Effect.”
For seven months, I worked in media and communications with the Canadian Junior Golf Association. And part of my job was to run tournaments all over Canada for youngsters aged five-19.
Through this experience, I witnessed kids getting yelled at on the course by their parents for things like not making the clutch birdie putt on the 18th green or having to go to the bathroom, which then would jeopardize their pace-of-play and possibly cost them a stroke (that kid was only seven).
Part of the reason I believe the situation is worse when referring to golf is because of the difference—in some cases—in the average income between golf and hockey parents. A sort of BMW vs. GMC kind of thing.
I’m not saying that all hockey parents are poor (I sure wish I could afford to drive a GMC), nor am I saying that all golf parents are rich. However, in my own experiences, any parent who could afford to register their kid in 23 tournaments at $175 a pop probably isn’t selling pencils.
With that comes the five-year-old decked-out in head-to-toe Nike gear, brand new Nike irons, and a bag to match. It’s not only a competition between golfers—it’s a fashion warfare between who can dress their kid in the most expensive clothing.
But whether it’s the hockey parent yelling at the coach because Jimmy didn’t get enough ice time, or the golf parent smacking Tiger Jr. on the back of the head between the 17th green and 18th tee, it doesn’t matter.
The way I see it, making a fool out of yourself and your child is going to have no bearing on whether or not he/she makes it on the PGA Tour. Nor will depriving them of the childhood they deserve.
You know, the one that involves being silly, getting dirty, and maybe even watching a few R-rated horror movies without you knowing—not spending Saturday at the driving range and then Sunday chipping and putting.
Making the NHL or the PGA Tour may start out as the child’s dream, but unfortunately it quickly can become that of the parent.
Let the child dream—all they need is support.
Even if the dream started out with her wanting to be the next Chris Everett, and for 10 years you spent all your extra income on private tennis lessons and then she decides to be a sports journalist.
Thanks, mom and dad.

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