America isn't the only land where parents sometimes take youth sports a bit too seriously. In fact, the following case from Sweden may prove that at least one Scandanavian hockey dad can compete with the Great Santini when it comes to overreacting to a rough game on the ice.
As reported in great depth by the Uppsala daily newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning (UNT), and followed upon by Swedish English daily website TheLocal.se (and first noticed on this side of the pond by NBC blog OffTheBench), a parent of a youth player for a floorball team abandoned his son in shorts and a t-shirt outside an arena in freezing temperatures on Saturday and refused to give him a ride home from Uppsala to Stockholm because he "played like crap," in a tournament.
The abandoned child was first discovered by the coach of a professional floorball (called innebandy in Sweden) team that is housed in the arena, with Uppsala Sirius coach Conny Eriksson immediately telling the boy to go back inside to avoid the cold. Eriksson then procured the boy's cell phone and called his father to ask why he had left his son.
It was then that Eriksson received one of the more startling and disturbing responses imaginable:
"But he didn't think that was any of my business and said that 'the boy played like crap and that he could walk home'.
"This is child abuse," Eriksson told UNT.
Child abuse might be putting it lightly. Uppsala is more than 40 miles from Stockholm, so the chilled, jacket-less floorball player was facing a near-certain episode of hypothermia unless someone had found him.
Luckily, the professional innebandy coach was also able to call the parent of one of the boy's teammates, who immediately came back to the Fyrishov Arena -- where the tournament had taken place -- and picked him up.
While a police inquiry into the event is ongoing -- UNT reported that both the parent and player have been identified and that more interviews are taking place after police received a record number of calls from the public to provide additional information -- the director of the tournament in which the boy competed was quick to decry the father's action in no uncertain terms, all while a member of the public who identified the family to the police insisted that "the family needs help."
"The father's response alone is despicable," Peter Wennberg, the director of the Storvreta Cup told UNT.
"How can one do something like this? I feel sorry for the kid to have to come home to that parent."