Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Jack and Jenna

My brother is going to be a father.  He and his wife told me the other day that they had decided they would encourage the boy (yes, they know it will be a boy) to play hockey.  Neither parent has much interest in the sport.  I think it was a gesture to include me in the care of the child.  I am touched that they are so quick to hand their first born over to me, but my initial reaction was “really?  I would be afraid to encourage my kid to play hockey.”

I’m a worry wart.  I would have the kid ride horses, because even though more people get head injuries riding horses than doing anything else, I know how to do it right, it would be safe if I were in charge.  Right.

Anyway, when I expressed my concerns about the safety of the unborn person (hey, they’re planning his sports activities, I’m not the only crazy person here), my brother said “really?  But hockey isn’t dangerous, they’re all padded, it’s not like football.”

Yep, this is the same brother and sister in law that I took to a game.  Maybe that preseason game did not make enough of an impression on them.  In the interests of full disclosure, I pointed out that yes, actually it is just like football, but I would still drive the kid to the rink.

Besides, we’re talking little kiddy stuff, not pro hockey player stuff.  Kids’ hockey is safe, right?  Teeny tinies don’t injure each other so much, they bounce and don’t have a lot of mass to put into a collision.  Probably the teeny tinies are comparatively safe.  It’s only if they like the sport, keep it up, and are still playing as young adults that things can get dangerous, as with all things in life.  I’m sure my brother will let the kid drive, right?  You can’t wrap your kid in bubble wrap and keep him or her in a box, much as you may want to.

Four Sharks players went to visit Jack Jablonski yesterday: Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn, Ryane Clowe and Joe Pavelski.  As David Pollak explains, Sharks PR Manager Scott Emmert was going to see him and the Sharks’ player visit grew from there.  Earlier in the day, Devin Setoguchi, Dany Heatley and Cal Clutterbuck also visited Jack.  According to a tweet from Jack, Wayne Gretzky has been in contact too:

@Jabs_13: “Still in shock from seeing the 1980 Olympic gold medal and talking to the great one Gretzky #unbel13vable”

I don’t have the words to respond to this news.  It is a profoundly moving story of a terrible accident and just the beginning of the story for the Jablonski family.  My thoughts are with them.

Another story blipped across my feed around the same time, the story of Jenna Privette.  She’s currently paralyzed from the waist down after a bad fall in a hockey game.  Jack Jablonski’s mother visited Jenna in the hospital.  I hope others will too.  It just bothers me that I knew most of Jack’s story just from my Twitter feed and didn’t know much about Jenna’s.

@heyitserin_: “I love the support for Jack and all but if we could get the same amount of support for Jenna that would be incredible! #jenna #jp23”

I don’t follow everyone who’s anyone so my little window into the web is limited.  But just in case Jenna is slipping through the cracks here, I wanted to give her story a little attention too.  Whether she was injured by a freak fall or a check from behind it doesn’t matter much now.  She’s reported to be keeping her spirits up in a very hard situation.

So yes, high school sports are as dangerous as pro sports, in some ways moreso because the level of skill is less, accidents are more likely.  This doesn’t mean you should foster an ambition in your child to be a couch potato.  After all, that is dangerous too.  If anything, it is vital to encourage your teeny tiny to be as physically brave as possible, so that they develop the best defense there is: agility.  This won’t protect them from everything, but it’s the most you can give them.

That, and a good sense of the difference between dangerous and dangerous.  I don’t see any reason in the world to encourage bungee jumping, for example, and I’m not sold on the merits of sky diving.  But hockey and horses, these can be good for you and your kid, even when the dangers are very real.

Let’s keep both Jenna and Jack in our thoughts, along with the kids whose stories haven’t made it onto Twitter at all. 

Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: cal+clutterbuck, dany+heatley, devin+setoguchi, high+school+hockey, jack+jablonski, jamie+mcginn, jenna+privette, joe+pavelski, logan+couture, minnesota+wild, ryane+clowe

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net