Lawyering takes the fun out of everything

According to the Toronto Star, a 12-year-old girl has apparently been badgered off her otherwise all-male hockey team due to the machinations of another player’s dad:

For 12-year-old Kayla Watkins, the public humiliation was too much.

After learning a parent on her coed peewee hockey team — comprised entirely of boys except for her — called for restrictions on her ice time or her removal from the team unless her skills improved, she did the only thing she thought she could: She quit.

“I felt that if I went back all the parents would have been watching every move I made and always staring at me,” said the outgoing preteen, who has been playing the game since the age of four.

“To play hockey you shouldn’t have to go through what I went through. I was just looking to have friendship and play the game I love.”

— Cribb, Robert. “Controversy pushes girl off coed hockey team.” Toronto Star, 22 December 2010.

Welcome to the world of overly competitive, perspective-impaired parents, Kayla.

The father in question—lawyer George J. Atis—offers up an explanation at his own website.

At the risk of being overly simplistic (because that is, after all, what blogs and the internet commentariat do best), I have read between the lines and posit this scenario:

Kayla’s mom is apparently the team manager. Lawyer dad has personality conflict with Kayla’s mom/team manager, drafts his own team meeting agenda to highlight mom’s ineptitude, and tries to simultaneously drive in a shank by suggesting daughter is a piss-poor hockey player. Voilà, crushed adolescent ego and uncomfortable media spotlight.

No matter how things came to pass, though, one would expect that a player’s performance (or lack thereof) would be the purview of the coach, and not a toothless council of “concerned parents”.

KARMIC JUSTICE UPDATE: A commenter at Daimnation! notes that Kayla’s former team, the A-level Toronto Ice Dogs, had a 5-8-1 win-loss-tie record when Atis wrote his missive; now that Kayla’s moved to an all-girl squad, the Ice Dogs are 8-14-1 on the season.

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