“It’s so ironic, because the hockey community loves to talk about toughness and courage. In that world, courage is supposed to mean standing in front of a slap shot without flinching, or taking your lumps in a fight.
But that’s easy. That’s not real courage. Anybody can do that.
I guarantee you there’s hundreds of kids across North America who will get dressed for hockey this weekend with their stomach turning, thinking the same thing I did as a kid:
“I better play really good there, or tonight is going to be really bad.”
It just takes one person to act on their instinct and stand up for that child. That’s real courage. The kind we don’t always glorify in the hockey world.”
Patrick O’Sullivan shares his story of growing up with an abusive father, one who thought the Patrick’s success only proved that he was raising him the right way to be successful. It’s too bad that we, as a society, can view something like athletic talent as a character trait or a result of good parenting when it can often be exactly the opposite. Being good at a sport doesn’t guarantee that an athlete is a good person, and beating a kid into “toughness” doesn’t make them tough. Surviving what he had to survive, and speaking out about it, makes O”Sullivan one of the toughest athletes out there in my mind. Let’s hope more people involved in youth sports pay attention.
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