Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Some play outside the rules, and some Playfair

 Things have been interesting for Jackson Playfair recently.  First, he gets traded from the Spokane Chiefs to their mortal enemies the Tri-City Americans.  Somewhere in the midst of this he found himself with some Washington companionship, drawing the ire of his Girlfriend of 6 months:  Tieja MacLaughlin.  The story is that she got pissed off and traveled 500 miles to confront him about things, and apparently death threats were involved.

This is a heavy incident.  As we've discussed, its only a game - Ilya Bryzgalov agrees.  Off the ice there is life, and these players deal with things that we all have to go through, and incidents like this happen sometimes.  While I was digesting this story today, I listened to this piece about domestic violence, and it seems to be a related issue in my book.

I'm with Playfair on this one.  Every relationship is complicated, and no one is 100% right/wrong, but whatever his shortcomings are don't warrant threats of any kind - particularly death threats.  There's a place for violence, and then there is real life.

Another related issue is the form of domestic violence where the man is the victim.  We have nothing to lead us to believe this was a part of this story, but it is part of many men's lives - which is an issue.  A online resource for these men had this to say:

While the majority of domestic violence victims are women, abuse of men happens far more often than you'd probably expect. Typically, men are physically stronger than women but that doesn't necessarily make it easier to escape the violence or the relationship. An abused man faces a shortage of resources, skepticism from police, and major legal obstacles, especially when it comes to gaining custody of his children from an abusive mother. No matter your age, occupation, or sexual orientation, though, you can overcome these challenges and escape the abuse.

Again, the vast majority of domestic violence victims are women, which generally forms our views of how to approach this societal cancer.  However many men are subject to similar violence.  More often than not females can carry out abuse without repercussions: they can hit the man all they want, as any physical retaliation generally lands the man in jail.  He-say-she-say in a fistfight leaves the man the guilty party.

During my early 20's I lived in Kansas City, MO: which is where I discovered hockey outside of the NHL.  The KC Blades  taught me the joy of attending games.  There weren't a whole hell of a lot of highlights from those seasons of the Blades, but I was fortunate enough to be in the barn for this:

I was accompanied to many games during that period of my life by a pretty blonde from Raytown, MO (the setting of Mama's Family).  This woman had a drinking problem.  Addictions of any type are difficult to live with, and this one tended to morph into violence on occasion.  In cases like this, the offender is also a victim, but they hold the keys to both of the issues at hand.  The 4 years I spent with this woman were the best of times & the worst of times - you could say it was "day to day".

Many domestic abuse victims have dealt with much more than I have, but I lived that way for too damn long.  Hopefully I learned from those experiences, and have been fortunate enough to not have those issues pop back up in my life.  I do have those memories still, and I have a soft spot for men with similar stories.  

My advice to Playfair would be to do just what he did, and get the law involved.  I assume he went to his team as well, and I hope they did what they could to support him.  We ask so much out of these teenagers:  we hold them up on a pedestal, ask them to entertain us, to bleed for us. They have a lot on their plate as is - guys like this don't need distractions like this to deal with, but sometimes they do.

My advice to you is to take these things seriously.  Stalking, violence, victims male & female - they all need our support.  If you find yourself in one of these situations, get some help.  Life is too short to live in those conditions.  There are resources out there for you, and those of us who are fortunate to avoid those situations should be a resource for the less fortunate among us.  Together we can fight back - in the right way.

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