Friday, May 31, 2013

Review of "Moron"

Anyone who has been involved in youth sports, whether as a player, coach, parent or official will want to check out this book on one man's drive to ban body checking in minor (youth) hockey in the city of Calgary, Alberta.


“Moron: The Behind the Scenes Story of Minor Hockey” by Todd Millar


Non-fiction, Ice hockey, youth sports, policies, safety


April 15, 2013


186 pages (paperback)


3 of 5 stars (Okay)


When an official of Hockey Calgary published a blog post that used the word “moron” 17 times, it brought light to a controversial topic that had not gained much traction.   In order to protect young hockey players in minor hockey (Canada’s term for what would be called youth hockey in the United States), a proposal to eliminate body checking was defeated.   Todd Millar took the opponents of the proposed rule change to task and published the infamous blog post.  

The book is a call to correct this situation as Millar uses statistics, anecdotes and instances of rule infractions to make his point of how the game would be safer and more fun for everyone involved – players, coaches, parents and officials.   While the book has its moments, good research and a theme that is hard to argue with, it comes across as overbearing at times.   Anyone who had played in youth sports, been the parent of a player in these games, or has been a referee or umpire can share similar stories.  The book makes a great point and presents a worthy case – but in the manner of a sledgehammer driving it into the reader’s head.   That was the main drawback I had with the book, and why I lowered my rating to three stars.  The anecdotes were great, the research good and the cause worthy.  Those alone should be powerful enough to make the case.

Did I skim? 

I did skip some sections that were repeats of the same points made in earlier chapters.

Pace of the book:

At times, I felt it was slow and repetitive.  Otherwise, it moved along fine.

The passion that Millar has for this issue is evident and he has performed extensive research to illustrate the dangers of body checking in minor hockey.  He uses his own Hockey Calgary experiences to illustrate his points as well as the research.  He also is a great story teller.  One that I particularly enjoyed was his story about a father who was climbing over the glass so he could scream his displeasure about an official’s call.  The referees in these games are not much older than the players, so they are impressionable as well, and Millar reminds the reader of this as well.

Two big ones curbed my enjoyment of the book.  One, while I commend Mr. Millar for his passion to this cause and his tireless effort to get the rules changed, the message came across as preachy.  I felt like it was either “Do it my way or, of course, you are a ‘moron.’”   Two, while the title word is important in the context of the book, I felt it was used far too often.  Yes, we got the message of who are the “morons” and who was wearing the “moron helmet.” 

Do I recommend?
Only for those people who are associated with youth sports in some way, such as parents, coaches or officials. 


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