Initiations: watch out for coaches who just want to win and turn a blind eye

Initiations: watch out for coaches who just want to win and turn a blind eye


 All the leagues may well ban initiations and denounce the criminal excesses that have obviously resulted from it, it will not change much.

It does initiations have been banned for several years in several leagues, including the QMJHL.

In 2005, following allegations of a rookie from the McGill football team who was allegedly sodomized during a initiation, most leagues that hadn't already started stepped in. No more initiations!

Do you think that changes anything? One year you have to eat a pig's tongue blindfolded and run around in panties while having eggs thrown at you, but the next year you can't do it to the younger ones.

That's a few days talking to different athletes in a few sports and of all ages. I also played and coached in elite junior baseball a few years ago, where the initiations were an important evening in the season.

An integration evening 

First, it is true that initiations no longer exist. Athletes have started to call it: “an integration evening”. It was obviously the same thing.

As a player, it has always been great parties that have effectively made it possible to integrate the newcomers to the team well. There was way too much alcohol and it could be dangerous, but the leaders had a head on their shoulders to minimize the risk of slipping.

But then, I became one of the coaches of the team. I had started my career in journalism. The league president was then (and still is) my colleague Rodger Brulotte, who was clear: no initiation. He did his job, but even with the worst possible penalties, we knew very well that the players were going to plan a moment between themselves.

I told the players that I didn't want to hear about it talk. That was forbidden. Did I do my job? No ! Come on, it would have been the worst idea to just wash your hands of it and hope there were no overflows.

Without telling me, the players therefore organized their evening. And in secret, the coaches, we therefore made sure with the leaders of the group that it was really a party to integrate the new ones, that everyone be careful with alcohol and that all the players had a safe way to return at home without one of them daring to think of touching the steering wheel.

I think the vast majority of coaches would have acted that way. It's just logical. I am no better than anyone else.

The leagues may well ban and we can begin deep reflections on the toxicity of certain collective sports, but if we want to avoid slippages, it is first and foremost the job of the coach.

Coaching for that

Even at the elite level in Quebec, 99.9% of athletes will not make a career in sport.

So it's silly for a coach to devote 99.9% of his pedagogy to making a player better in his sport.

It's the role of the coach to train good people first before good athletes.

People who don't prioritize a team between powerful veterans and painless rookies like in 1970.< /p>

People who understand that everyone has to be happy on a team to have a better chance of accomplishing something.

People who will become good leaders in life, and concern for the well-being of others.

The best coach in amateur sport, even at the top, is often not the one who leads the team to the top of the standings or the one who has developed a disadvantage infallible digital. He's the one who managed to do that, while training young people or teenagers to become good individuals who understand how stupid it is to initiate recruits in an ignoble way.

Initiations: watch out for coaches who just want to win and turn a blind eye