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Rick Rischall The Hockey Writers

Published on Saturday, November 28, 2015





The Wrong Kind of Fight Hits Hockey

Last night the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in a hockey game. Seems innocent enough right? One team wins, while the other loses. It happens every day, in every sport, at every level. But then this happened:

Fortunately, a fellow human being named Aaron Bensing came to the victim’s aid. He did what he could until paramedics arrived.

I know I wasn’t there and have absolutely no idea what happened leading up to this, but we can all assume that people on both sides weren’t exchanging holiday greetings. It’s too bad actually as that may have prevented this assault in the first place. Oh yes it’s an assault, no question, and has absolutely no place in the stands at any level of any game. Most of us lament the loss of innocence and the keyboard warrior mentality brought on in this age of social media. Virtual bullying is bad enough, but acting out in anger because your favorite team lost, favorite player hurt, or just because you don’t like the opponent’s fans is simply unacceptable.

As for the coward and his buddies who thought that the best way to show their testosterone toughness off was to shove someone down concrete steps from behind, consider this: It is not funny and you will be punished. In fact, in an ideal world, I hope your own team and fans turn on you as well. You don’t represent hockey, sports or the true fan.

Sadly, stories like these are becoming all too familiar. Parents get in fights at pee-wee games, players and fans assault referees, and all-out brawls start in the stands. I am not going to bemoan the loss of self-control or the need for anger management classes. The hard truth is we are now a society that accepts, if not embraces, shoving, punching, or even shooting first, then listening later — if at all.

Acts of terror briefly sober us up to the reality that there are those in the world who literally want to murder others with whom they disagree. Then we go right back to behaving exactly like the goons we call-out and swear to never allow them to define us as human beings. It is never acceptable to bully others, whether in cyber space or in person. If you cannot control your anger, please recognize it and seek help. If you think it’s okay to lash out and abuse another person, mentally or physically, then you are no better than those whom we see on the news every day.

Hockey is a beautiful and exciting game. It is also one with rules and consequences when players’ actions are outside the guidelines of acceptable behavior. We all would do well to follow Mr. Bensing’s words above. Give aid and comfort to those in need as best you can, and then leave it to the professionals to handle it from there.



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