I don't have a problem with other people swearing. Curse words are simply a part of the English language that some use to express their emotions and drive home their point.
It is a bad habit, I too, am guilty of on occasion. I do my very best to "pick my spots." I make a conscious effort to avoid using certain words around elders and try never to curse in front of easily influenced children. Choosing to use or not use those words is my right. The decision to use them with some discretion is my responsibility. Swearing is not acceptable or appropriate in certain settings no matter who you are. Unfortunately, sometimes, "stuff" happens.
On Monday night in L.A in the aftermath of the Kings first Stanley Cup win in franchise history, "stuff" happened - on multiple occasions - in front of a nationally televised audience. When members of the L.A. Kings let the "F-Bomb" slip during post-game, on-ice, interviews, unlike many, I enjoyed the remainder of the celebration and went to bed without giving their word choice a second thought.
It has been said that the Cup "turns men into boys." On Monday night, over twenty men realized a dream they had since they were small children. They celebrated with the excitement and enthusiasm generally reserved for children under the age of 10...and it was awesome. They achieved something they had worked hard for, in many cases, for their entire lives. The team members had no doubt rehearsed their acceptance speeches hundreds of times as kids on backyard rinks and those speeches surely never included an unacceptable word. They were, in all likelihood, remarkably eloquent - in their heads. However, on Monday night, the moment took over. They cursed. It happens.
If they didn't regret the slip immediately, they surely will in the coming days and months. As adults, we don't need to remind our children's heroes that they were "wrong". They will be reminded all summer long. The local heroes will generously give their time and energy, as hockey players always do, and use a portion of their day with the Cup to visit hospitals and share with children in the community. Then the kids will ask two questions - "What was it like to win the Cup?", followed by, "Why did you swear in your post game interview?". The latter will bring chatter and laughs to the youth audience and a certain level of discomfort to those fielding the questions. I think that will serve as "punishment" enough for any momentary lapse in judgment.
Right or wrong, cursing has become part of the culture in sports at certain levels. It only makes sense that in a moment of euphoria following your greatest professional accomplishment you would simply lose sight of your audience. The "guilty" team members simply said what came to mind when there were no other words to describe that feeling in the moment.
As a society, we need to let that go. In most of our everyday lives, we are not faced with a microphone and a few million viewers to answer to moments after a long day at the office. When the Kings suffered what could have potentially been a series swinging loss in New Jersey in Game 5, it may have been the most difficult defeat of their careers. They stood at podiums, next to lockers, in lines waiting for meals, and answered questions about the worst day they had ever had at the "office" for another 36 hours. That would have driven me to curse...Those guys wisely and admirably resisted that urge. On Monday night, they experienced the ultimate hockey high, and again were asked to give their thoughts. After that sort of emotional rollercoaster, I think we can cut them some slack.
Back in 2010, our nation's Vice President attempted to discretely relay his excitement after introducing President Obama. In doing so, he described a monumental event as a "Big F'ing Deal." Biden's word choice (which still caused me no sleep loss) was a far worse offense than that of the Kings team members if you want to be picky. In the case of the hockey players, the words were spoken extemporaneously in response to a question. The Vice President was making an announcement and could easily have chosen to express his excitement before or after the press conference when he and Obama were not in front of an audience. It wasn't the best word choice or proper forum for the quote, but he was excited, proud of what they had accomplished, and he said what was on his mind. I am certain he, too, would have regretted the comment without the rest of the nation wasting their time dwelling on it.
Hockey is all about excitement and passion. It is part of what makes the game great. Sometimes those emotions are flushed out at inopportune times. That is ok.
It is not our job as parents to criticize professional athletes or other public figures for saying the "wrong thing" in front of our children. It remains our job to help our children understand the events that led up to the outpouring of emotion and if we so choose, explain why those words are not acceptable in their daily lives or in our homes.
For more athletic development tips, quality blog content, and to be a part of "The World's Locker Room," sign up and create your Sportsideo account today!