Dainius Zubrus and his coach, Ivan Pravilov
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05-18-2012, 03:22 PM
New Title Pending
Join Date: Dec 2008
Originally Posted by
Well written article. I've heard plenty about what a sadistic psychopath Pravilov was, but never in this much detail. It's too bad that he committed suicide, and could never be made to bear the full brunt of his crimes being exposed in a trial.
As for Zubrus himself, it sounds like he witnessed (and endured) at least some of this abuse, but as such a young kid at the time he probably felt powerless to do anything. In these situations (coaches abusing the kids), very often the players feel a lot of shame when they grow up, either for enduring the abuse, or not doing anything to stop it, and end up in denial publicly.
Side note, it's a very dark side of competitive sports culture that abuse from coaches is often allowed to go on for so long. Parents are willing to sacrifice far too much for the dream that their son could turn pro, and coaches are supposed to be hard nosed disciplinarians, so even when they cross the line into being total psychopaths people will often write it off as "tough love."
There's also the flip side of the issue too. For a coach who is perfectly normal but tough, it's extremely difficult to deal with parents who just hover around and offer their opinions and ask pointed questions and talk with other parents about anything and everything. I've done a bit of coaching (high school football), and the one thing that I never have missed is dealing with parents. I don't talk to them unless it's something very serious, and I don't want them talking to me.
My line of thinking was this. On the field, I'm in charge. Off the field, they're in charge. The two don't cross over unless there's something egregiously wrong...if there's a bad home situation, or if a coach is sending up red flags. But the most interaction that I ever had with one of my players off the field was giving one a ride home after practice because his car needed repairs and wasn't available.
And this is one of the issues with hockey, where there's long travel and staying in hotels and riding buses. I've heard stories about "normal life" in junior hockey that is stomach-churning. And the bigger problem is that coaches or older players tend to take the lead on these type of things, so there's certainly a fear factor involved.
Now, I will say that in order to become a high school coach in Ohio, the OHSAA requires both a background check and also attendance/participation in a class that covers everything from first aid to legal matters to covering your own ass in relations with players. I don't know if such a thing exists with other governing bodies, but I'd be curious to know if or how it could be implemented.
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