Hello Walden Fam! Today we wanted to talk about a very delicate subject – bullying.

Unfortunately, the world is in a bullying epidemic; it’s a rising problem affecting so many individuals around the world. Bullying leads to irreversible harm, causing feelings of alienation, insecurity, depression, and more.

When it comes to sports, the line between competition and bullying can often be blurred and it’s important that athletes, coaches and parents recognize the difference.

As parents we can watch for signs by keeping open dialogue with our kids and paying attention to their body language and changes in personality at practices/games.

As coaches we have to remember to always be a role model to kids. Ensure you’ve set a zero tolerance policy to any kind of bullying and remember to watch our own tone when providing feedback. Remember that all players are listening, telling a goalie they only loss because of poor defence is only hurting the defence player who overheard you. The opposite is also true. Always talk to your team by supporting their strengths and helping them work on their weaknesses without singling them out. If a goalie let in 4 goals and loss the game, remind them that they saved 35 shots!

As athletes we have to remember to always be kind. Competition is fun, but mean words are not easily forgiven and rarely ever forgotten. As our president likes to say: stay classy.

We would like to make it clear that the Walden Ringette Association does not tolerate any forms of bullying, including cyber bullying from our Walden family or from any other association. If you or someone you know is being bullied, speak up: talk to your parent, your coach or someone on our executive.