Cell Service Can Be No Service When It Comes To Watching A Game

Anyone who has ever picked up a stick is probably familiar with The Great One's proclamation that, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."

Hockey savant though he may be, Wayne Gretzky didn't utter that line in the age of Smartphones and iPads. Were one to update those words, he or she might have to append it with - "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take ... because you were staring down at your screen."

West Seneca, N.Y., hockey dad James Colby is one of too many parents who have fallen victim to the digital days of our lives, and checking his phone from the stands. 

"Sadly, I did this last week," he admitted. "I wanted to take a video of my [child] playing. Then during a shift change, I started playing on social media and missed his next shift when he scored a goal. Never again. Phone goes away from here on out."

Paula Hinsz Walker's job required being on call 24 hours a day. But after her son took notice of her on the phone in the stands, she changed her ways.

"I would only take it out between periods while they were in the locker room," said the Great Falls, Mont., hockey mom. "I didn't think my son noticed when I was on my phone, but when he commented on it, it broke my heart."

While there may be legitimate reasons to use that Smartphone in the stands, there unfortunately are others who are putting phones ahead of their kids, ignoring what's happening on the ice in favor of their mobile device.  

College hockey mom Debbie Amato, from DeLand, Fla., has never missed watching her son in the net. She has a message for digitally distracted dads and moms.

"Wake up moms and dads," she said. "Cherish every moment. Before you know, they will be gone."

Our phone dependence may indeed be a symptom of our busy lives, but there's no reason not to be smart about our Smartphones, and create some healthy cellular boundaries in our children's arenas. 

Arizona goalie mom blogger Sharon Enck could tweet penalites, goals and saves with lightning speed, but it soon became obvious she needed to take in the game and report on it later.

"Nothing is worse than having your player ask, 'Did you see that ___?' And you didn't even notice. Wait until intermission or better yet at the end of the game, because no news, video, or social media feed is that important. The only things that need to be lightning fast during the game is your player on the ice, or their glove hand."

I can remember one game where my daughter, Sophia, asked me to get my phone ready. In this instance, I knew exactly what she meant.

This was the game she was going to help a teammate finally score that elusive goal, her first of the season.

I positioned myself right behind the net, and sure enough, there it was. My cellphone camera was rolling, and caught that sweet tape-to-tape pass to her younger teammate.

And then came the "celly. Big and beautiful. More precious than I could have imagined.

As I choked back the tears and looked up in the stands - hoping to catch the eyes of the younger teammate's mom - our eyes never met. Her's were once again glued to her phone.

About 10 minutes later, I felt a tap on the shoulder and a horrified look on the face of the mom, "O-M-G. Did you get it?!?"

While she may have missed that shot, I scored with my camera shot - at least in this instance.

But going forward, that mom left her phone in her pocket during games ... and saw 100 percent of the goals the rest of the season.

Check out Christie Casciano Burns' new book, "My Kids Play Hockey. Essential Advice For Every Hockey Parent."




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