“No Touching the Girls, Even on their Helmets”

Canada’s National aedykefhii
 reports that the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association has instructed its coaches: No touching the players…even on their helmets.

(U)nder no circumstances should there be contact with the players, in any way” … said the directive from John Reynolds, head of the house league. “Putting hands on shoulders, slapping butts, tapping them on the helmet, NOTHING, this can make some of the girls uncomfortable and you won’t know which ones, so no contact, period.”

What’s crazy about this rule is not just that it’s…crazy. It is also part of the same mindset that brought us “trigger warnings.” Those are warnings placed at the top of an article, or any other reading, that warn the reader that the following content could “trigger” feelings of distress — perhaps flashing the reader back to a time when he or she (but mostly she) felt demeaned or violated. Colleges have placed trigger warnings on items as diverse as movies, non-fiction articles and even the modern classic, “Things Fall Apart.” But as Jennie Jarvie points out in this great piece in The New Republic: “Once we start imposing alerts on the basis of potential trauma, where do we stop?”

The same goes for imposing bans on any and all touch.

Trigger warnings aren’t even based on any real psychology, as far as I can tell. They simply seem to want to insure that no one ever feels uncomfortable, as if discomfort itself is a form of assault. But the shrinks I’ve read suggest that fears only grow deeper and more desperate the more we try to avoid the “trigger.”

What’s more, the assumption behind trigger warnings AND worrying that a girl might feel uncomfortable (to the point of violated) if a someone touched her helmet is a strange and insulting way of looking at young people. It’s treating them as the most delicate of wisps, unable to handle anything. A young woman is just one big, raw nerve-ending, ever ready to jangle.

So, Toronto: Quit acting as if your feisty young hockey players can’t tell the difference between an assault and an “Atta girl!”

They can. – L.

Don't touch me there!

Don’t touch me there!


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52 Responses to “No Touching the Girls, Even on their Helmets”

  1. Jenny Islander February 5, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    Hold it a second.

    Trigger warnings or content warnings do have a use. People with PTSD, like me, have a physical condition of the brain that can derail an entire day if it is set off. Luckily, even an adult’s brain can be reconfigured via certain exercises, but this takes a lot of hard work and time. Until the reconfiguration procedures–comparable to physical therapy–take effect, a visual image or verbal description (or tactile sensation or smell or sound–remember, the classic PTSD scenario is the returned soldier diving to the floor at the sound of fireworks) may trip the trap again. Then suddenly you have no idea when or where you are and you are reacting to things that happened 20 years ago at the hands of people who are dead. No, this is not something that can be willed away. It is a physical condition of the brain. The associated dumping of adrenaline into the bloodstream can leave a person with PTSD shaky and distracted for hours. Then, of course, there’s the embarrassment, and the fear of being labeled unprofessional or immature–or crazy–and perhaps fired.

    Those nifty letters TW or CW are like those nice yellow patches that identify curb cuts. “If you want to avoid a nasty bump, do this.”

  2. KayDee February 5, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    Another part of this article that really irked me is this quote:
    ‘‘What we recommend, what Hockey Canada recommends, is you do a fist bump, like a high five, end of story. Not tapping kids on the head, because you tap a kid on the head, even when they’re wearing a helmet, you could conceivably give a kid a concussion,”
    I am knowingly sending my kids on the ice to play an inherently dangerous sport and they are worried about the coaches causing a concussion with a well intentioned “tap”.
    They are really reaching on this one.

  3. sodium11 February 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    I agree with Jenny. Lenore, you’ve got to re-think this one.

    Free-Range is about empowering kids with the appropriate level of autonomy to take care of themselves, and not exaggerating fears of risk.

    So are trigger warnings. They are are about empowering people to take care of themselves. The idea of trigger warnings run amok and somehow *limiting* what we can talk about is a fiction and it is ridiculous. Used appropriately, trigger warnings *expand* the range of our discourse by enabling more people, especially those with genuine PTSD and related issues, to participate without fear for their safety. It’s akin to giving a kid a helmet so they can ride their bike safely without getting hurt — the opposite of keeping that kid at home out of fear for their safety.

    On the core point of the hockey team article you cited: I’m conflicted. I want to create a culture where all people, regardless of age or gender, have autonomy over their bodies and are raised to know that they have the right to consent or not consent to anyone touching them. I agree that we should not go overboard in punishing or imposing “zero tolerance” on the kind of physical contact that occurs in sports teams, etc., but I don’t want to lose the core point that every person should have control over who touches them, when, and how.

  4. gina February 5, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

    @sodium–I absolutely agree with you…people should have complete autonomy over their bodies. I have a son with Aspergers Syndrome and he abhors being touched. BUT here’s the catch: Sometimes in the world, somebody may touch you when you aren’t expecting it. I have taught him this to EMPOWER him. I want him to be prepared because he can’t live in a bubble. How easy is it to say to a child (girl)….Tell the coach that YOU don’t want to be touched. And to teach a child, “sometimes you may be touched unexpectedly; you are within your rights to say ‘I don’t like to be touched; please don’t touch me’ ” To my mind, it’s only harassment if it happens AGAIN. My son (he’s 28) will shake hands with someone when he meets them. He doesn’t love it, but he understands that it is the acceptable way to behave. I have NEVER forced him to do this. But I have educated him so he is empowered with knowledge.

  5. Michael February 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    If a simple pat on the head in recognition of a job well done is considered an issue about “autonomy” over your body” than we have completely lost perspective. You already control who touches you by having the choice to stay indoors and having no physical interaction with the outside world. Otherwise, you accept that there is a chance for physical interaction. In the case of genuine issues in this regard as mentioned by Jenny for instance, well, that is not something the whole of society can accommodate without, again, loosing perspective. If an innocent tap on the head should be banned because it might trigger someone, what about yellow clothing, brown eyes, hockey sticks etc?

  6. lollipoplover February 5, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    “It’s coming from an interest in creating a safe place for kids to play hockey,” Roanne Argyle, the league’s director of communications, said of the no-contact stipulation.



  7. Peter February 5, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    If, before the movie starts, the on-screen caption says “contains nudity,” the viewer might imagine all sorts of sexy, titillating scenarios (often finding the actual depiction of nudity not so sexy.) Why doesn’t that happen with trigger warnings? If the article contains a discussion of a violent act that can trigger something in a susceptible reader, why doesn’t the trigger warning itself make them go to that place? Why can the PTSD brain react to the description of violence, but not the description of the description of violence?

  8. Max Kessler February 5, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    Where are the parents’ accountability and responsibility in all of this? If your child is going to be uncomfortable with a tap on the helmet, then perhaps hockey is not a good activity for your child. How about figure skating or something else entirely?

  9. Powers February 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    “Why can the PTSD brain react to the description of violence, but not the description of the description of violence?”

    You’re right that, in theory, the additional level of remove isn’t sufficient to avoid all negative effects. But it’s got to be better than no warning at all. And it empowers the reader to decide for him or herself whether he or she can handle reading the material.

  10. Andrea February 5, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    The problem I have with trigger warnings is that they are usually for women and sexual assault/molestation. I rarely, if ever, see trigger warnings for “the classic PTSD scenario” involving solders as described above. But an article about college rape has trigger warnings all over the place. Either trigger warnings should be consistent, or they will be considered coddling certain groups. But they can’t be consistent, because then everything in life would need a trigger warning.

  11. no rest for the weary February 5, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

    My kid is a goalie. One of my favourite things is when the goalie from the opposing team and my kid tap their trappers (gloves) together at the ice clean or period breaks.

    I also love seeing the coach put his hand on top of any kid’s helmet, to say, “it’s okay,” or “job well done.”

    Sometimes during practices, a coach who is carrying a stick will whack my son’s leg pads in affirmation that he’s done a good job.

    In the baseball world, there’s lots of batting helmet taps, pats on the shoulder, and even side hugs. And if someone belts a home run, well, there’s a LOT of touching. Same goes for goals scored on the ice. My son has also been mobbed by his teammates when he makes an especially important save as goalie.

    I will say it again: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN to know themselves, tune into their “creep radar,” and TALK about it when something sets them off.

    DO NOT instruct everyone who works with kids not to hug or touch them.

  12. Eric S February 5, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    One also has to wonder, “WHY” would these girls feel uncomfortable with sportsman like contact? Is it because something happened to them? Or something is being put in their heads that “touching” of any kind is inappropriate. Maybe they aren’t hugged or shown affection at home, and therefore aren’t used to physical contact. Even if it’s a positive one.

    IMO, this is just a detriment to children in the long run. They get conditioned to think that touch of any form is inappropriate. And who is anyone to say, who can hug who. Or high-five. More and more, this society is becoming a police state. Not good. Parents should speak up. Forget about how they feel, or what other adults say. Do what is best FOR THE KIDS. And I believe young children are very well aware of what they like and don’t like. Work with that.

  13. Eric S February 5, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    @ Jenny and Sodium: I understand “trigger warnings” and “PTSD”. But really, do you think children have PTSD? The only reason why I would think they would, is that something bad happened to them when they were younger. Molested maybe? By a family member, or close acquaintance. But those are very few. Or perhaps some parents just don’t like anyone touching their kid(s) for whatever reason they have. But their reasons don’t make “traditional touching in team sports” a bad thing. Just like many of the fears people have these days, are self generated, with no justification, for the most part. It’s this mentality that has gotten us to this point in society. Where we don’t see kids playing in the park with each other, riding their bikes around their neighborhood. Even smiling at someone’s child is considered taboo now. Everything is fear based, but no substantiated proof for it. Just…well…fear.

    So why punish other children who don’t have issues, and actually expect the pat on the head or the back for a job well done. After all, it’s customary in ALL sports. Has been for decades.

    Disclaimers. Put disclaimers on all registration forms. ie. “Due the nature of the sport, there will be physical contact on and off the ice/field. By way of congratulating, and celebrating. eg. pat on the head, back, handshake. If you or your child has issues with this, please indicate and we will exclude your child from these celebratory traditions.”

    This way, the coaches and players know (if any) don’t like to be touched. And will avoid them. However, parents of children who don’t like to be touched, or their parents don’t want their children touched, CANNOT complain if their child feels left out. It’s absolutely ridiculous to punish the many for the few. And as Spock said, “The good of the many, outweigh the good of the few.”

  14. Jenny Islander February 5, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    @Peter: Honestly, I have no idea why trigger warnings work, but they do for most people.

  15. Dhewco February 5, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    I’m wondering if this is more to protect the athletic association and the coaches. For some reason, I’m reminded of the little neighbor boy I knew it High School. We rode the bus together and for some reason, he loved me. He was always walking to my house to see what I was doing. I was a teenager and didn’t think I needed a little brother, but there he was.

    Before I get off on a tangent, I’ll stop and say this. The bus driver was an ultra-suspicious type. The boy would be tired after a day of school and sometimes lay his head in my lap to take a nap (hour long bus ride). The first time this happened, I was uncomfortable…but after a few weeks I grew to accept him as a little brother type.

    I began to notice the bus driver would stare at us as much as possible while she was driving. Nothing was happening but a nap, but she acted as if we were the only students there. It made me feel strange, like I was doing something wrong. I thought it weird but touching this kid was so attached to me, but it was a nap for crying out loud and on a crowded bus. After about two months, she moved the boy up close to her. Not sure what she was trying to prove or prevent, because if I was a sicko, I had more than enough opportunities to do something in private. I’d be pretty stupid to do something in public like that.

    My point is this. It only takes one person to take something the wrong way and blow it out of proportion. Those, atta-boy taps might mean nothing to us, but a person focused on seeing things wrong might think something that never happened.

    They might sue, might ask their child leading questions and put doubt in their minds and cause some sort of legal action to occur.

  16. ad February 5, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    “Trigger warnings aren’t even based on any real psychology, as far as I can tell. They simply seem to want to insure that no one ever feels uncomfortable”

    They are there so people can demonstrate how much they care about female sexual assault victims. They make the writers look PC to their peer group. Their effects on the readers is beside the point.

  17. Warren February 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    I have not had the pleasure of coaching a girls hockey team. I have coached girls in softball.

    First and foremost, if you or your kid have an issue with this sort of contact, be it player to player, or coach to player, then keep your kid at home. At least until you have dealt with the issue, and overcame it.

    Next, for all those that are going to bring up special needs kids. Sucks to be them. You do not have the right to deny any part of the sports experience for others, just because of your kid.

    Someone brought up the idea of identifying those that don’t want to be touched, and assure them they will be excluded from the touching………….are you outta your mind? You want the coach to bend down and inspect every face before he pats them on the head or back? That is insane.

    As someone that has coached, there are times you have to touch. Pure and simple, you cannot properly teach a sport without touching at times. Modify their stance a little, how to tuck a shoulder in properly and so on. And what if there is an equipment problem, or minor injury problem?

    Any league that does this is going to loose coaches.

    And again, if you or your kid cannot take the touching, stay at home and knit.

  18. sexhysteria February 5, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    This is touch hysteria at the service of the sex abuse rescue business.

  19. Evan February 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    Excuse me, but the how is prepending a blog post with a content warning comparable in any way to banning coaches tapping players’ helmets?

    A content warning consists of saying what you’re going to talk about before you talk about it when you recognize the possibility that someone might find it upsetting. It’s not censorship, it’s a voluntary act of common politeness.

    I’m so sick of seeing the concept of “good manners” turned into a political shibboleth. Can we please agree that a stupid and unnecessary rule for coaches is stupid and unnecessary without attacking people for trying to make the world a little nicer to live in?

  20. lollipoplover February 5, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    I’ve coached girls sports teams for years (soccer, softball, basketball) and can’t for the life of me wrap my head around this other than they are assuming the worst of coaches.
    So I guess you can’t help them put the catcher’s gear on and make proper safety adjustments to the chest protector? Or the player who got a bloody nose when they were smashed in the face by a soccer ball? Should I just hand her the box of tissues?
    Can I take the helmet off when she gets a concussion?

    I have no experience with trigger warnings and don’t even know how they really apply here to basic, human touching from a mentor (coach) to a player. Encouraging words and good sportsmanlike conduct (yes- fistbumps and handshakes!) are fundamentals of good coaching.
    This should be fun, right?

    The worst display of misogynist coaching I’ve ever seen in girls sports involved no touching at all. It was a softball coach who had a young pitcher(11) blowing an inning and he kept approaching the mound repeatedly and bending down to give her an In-Your-Face scolding to turn things around. It didn’t work. She cried.
    My daughter told me after the game that she felt sorry for the pitcher and that if any coach ever treated her this way, she would spit in their face.

  21. BL February 5, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    I followed a link from the National Post page to a story from Vancouver about “crazed parents … berating referees, coaches and even players” in a youth league.

    Sounds like the parents need some helicoptering. If kids act like that in school, SWAT teams are summoned.

    The league is considering banning spectators from games! This proposal prompted this comment from Larry Feist, the publisher of HockeyNow “I can’t imagine it being plausible. You can’t just drop minors off at the hockey rink and leave.”


  22. Abigail February 5, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    I don’t want my children growing up uncomfortable at being brushed or bumped into because they’ve not been allowed sportsman-like touch. We cannot conceivably create rules and laws enough to protect our children from everything. I do think this is a free-range issue. I need my children to encounter experiences while I do have an element of control (appropriate supervision), so I can prepare them for those times in life when they will need to advocate for themselves. As the spouse of an individual with PTSD, our family is not immune to the struggles that triggers create. Is the issue here boiling down to an improper societal approach to mental health? Supporting those who have experienced trauma is not the same as treating everyone as though they’ve been traumatized.

  23. ARM February 5, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    I agree this ban is a shame, and I think the same for blanket bans on teachers’ touching students. I used to teach fourth grade and the simple fact is sometimes the best way to get an excited, squirmy 9-year-old to calm down is a friendly hand on the shoulder. Or even – horrors! – a hug. It’s a shame we have to throw out perfectly good and proper forms of touch, instead of targeting the bad ones. After all, humans start out needing touch as their primary form of communication, as babies and toddlers. How they’re suddenly supposed to function 100% verbally by five years later beats me.

  24. LadyTL February 5, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    I agree with Lenore on trigger warnings. I get triggered by all sorts of things because of the abuse I grew up with. Things like certain types of people getting upset and slamming doors. But I don’t see anyone saying we should have trigger warnings on raised voices in case someone was abused as a child. My husband gets triggered by someone asking him to do the same thing too many times in a row too fast, don’t see trigger warnings for that kind of emotional abuse. Plenty of people live their lives with various things that trigger flashbacks and memories, most of which will never ever get a trigger “warning” despite how seriously it could affect them.

    Telling people to avoid touch in any way is not going to help the idea that trigger “warnings” are only for what certain people find important enough to be considered a trigger and not anything based on actual science or studies.

  25. Warren February 5, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Good coaches have taken the bull by the horn with parents. As a coach I have on a few occassions sent a parent packing until the end of the game or practise. If their conduct warrants it, a lot of coaches have no problem doing this.

    When and if they argue, they are given the choice. They can leave, or we will pull their kid, and the whole family can leave. Never had a parent take the second choice yet.

  26. M February 5, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

    We are talking about HOCKEY PLAYERS, right?

    The hockey players are going to slam into each other, waving large sticks, while trying to hit a hard, fast moving puck that can potentially knock their teeth out.

    But a pat on the shoulder or the helmet is going to be tramatic?

    If PTSD is a problem and a pat on the shoulder would trigger it, hockey may not be the best choice for your kid. Cuz they will have to endure much more painful contact with the other players.

  27. hineata February 5, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    We once had a Cambodian refugee child collapse under a tree in the park following a car backfiring. And my mother had classmates who’d survived the Blitz, and who would get quite frantic at the volunteer fire siren (which in NZ is the same as an air raid siren). In the first case the child was given psychiatric support (though how much use it was who knows, as few of us locals have lived in war zones). In the second instances, teachers sympathized, but the sirens remained, and still do in some areas.

    It is unlikely that triggers can be removed completely, and often not practical. For this scenario, except for some ASD kids touch is a necessary part of life, and hockey is a pretty brutal game. That’s what makes it so fun…sports with a weapon 😊. And I ‘ve seen people hug to celebrate lawn bowls victories.

    Bring back hugs, head smacks on helmets, pats on shoulders, Yada, Yada, Yada.

  28. Kristy February 5, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

    Trigger warnings are not just for female survivors of sexual assault, but male survivors as well. I also commonly see trigger warnings on posts having to do with infant/child loss. When I see that, I am uber grateful the poster made that note and choose not to read the article. I can only speak for myself, but I think trigger warnings DO have their place. I don’t think that has anything to do with the article on soccer players.

  29. W February 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

    I think I may have got cognitive whiplash reading this article. I agree with Lenore so often it’s a bit of a shock when she says something I disagree with so strongly. I’m not going to rehash why trigger warnings are useful since that’s already been done, but I agree that you’re mistaken on trigger warnings Lenore.

    Also, why are you conflating kids playing sports with people who have suffered serious violent trauma? Those are somewhat different. Most egregious case of comparing apples to oranges I’ve seen in a long time.

  30. Jenny Islander February 5, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

    Trigger warnings aren’t going to help with the kind of thing that is completely innocuous to pretty much everyone but the person who finds it triggering, but they’re useful for:

    *Violence against/death to children
    *Graphic scenes of warfare and/or torture
    *Gaslighting and other reality warping
    *Heavy kink with elements of pain, coercion, etc., even if pre-scripted
    *Rape and sexual abuse
    *Body horror (extreme physical alteration)

    These are tags at a major fanfiction site I read at, and they’re very useful indeed.

  31. J- February 5, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    I never thought I’d see that day when “Alright everybody, hands in an ‘go team’ on three…” was a violation of policy.

  32. Owen Allen February 6, 2015 at 1:00 am #

    Bet no one asked the girls. There might be girls and boys who don’t like their helmets thumped. Mightn’t it be better they are able to speak up for themselves. Having lived in a boarding facility as a teenager, it was the prohibition through fear, threat and punishment, against speaking up that allowed physical and sexual abuse against boys to go unchecked. Sport clubs could play a valuable role in the education of children, parents and coaches about the distinction between assertive participation and acting out. For coaches, line of sight rules are invaluable to protect everyone, and anything you think you can do in a coaching role, you can do in front of a parent.

  33. Buffy February 6, 2015 at 7:16 am #

    I see some of you are quite passionate about trigger warnings; but look at the quandry colleges are in. They are being asked to put trigger warnings at the top of every class syllabus, professors have to inspect every text, every course outline, every lecture to make sure there isn’t anything that might trigger someone (who allegedly went to college to learn new things, broaden their horizons, etc but then can’t read any of the materials?)without warning. I read an article by a woman who teaches a class on Quentin Tarantino, and she does include a lengthy trigger warning in her syllabus. But it just seems to me, if someone is unable to handle what is presented in his movies, why are they taking a class on him?

    Anyway, while I can see the value of trigger warnings in some forums, I feel as if the entire world can’t police and censor themselves constantly so that they don’t panic anyone. That’s not the definition of free speech.

  34. Donna February 6, 2015 at 8:31 am #

    I am fine with heads-up (I think the term “trigger warning” is idiotic) when there is something potentially upsetting unexpectedly somewhere. The key word though is UNEXPECTED. Warnings should not need to be on every article about sexual assault or suicide. What exactly so you think is going to be in an article entitled “What I learned from my brother’s suicide” or “Rape on Campus?” And yet I see trigger warnings on them all the time.

    When I was in college I worked doing video rentals for awhile. It was right around the time that the movie My Girl came out on video. I warned parents of death of the Home Alone kid because the on-screen death of a beloved by kids actor was unexpected in that type of movie. I did not feel the need to do the same for parents renting Old Yeller since it predated the parents by 20 years and they should already have some clue how it ends.

    That is the way I feel about trigger warnings. The onus should be largely on the person suffering from PTSD to research what they view and obvious or easily knowable (research Quentin Tarantino before you sign up for the class) need no warnings. But when the trigger is going to come out of the blue, a warning is nice.

  35. Crystal February 6, 2015 at 9:20 am #

    When I was in middle school, my dad coached my basketball team. He was so excited — after years of coaching my older brothers, he was finally getting to coach me and my girlfriends.

    One day, at practice, he told us to scrimmage “shirts and skins” (meaning half the players wear shirts, the other half not). We all stopped in our tracks, silent, until one girl said, “Um….I’m pretty sure I want to be on the shirts.”

    My dad, so used to coaching boys, was MORTIFIED. The parents on the sidelines cracked up hysterically, and pretty soon we were all laughing.

    Yet if it had happened today, in a big city probably and not in a small town where everyone knows everyone, this funny memory would probably be repeated in a courtroom as evidence.

  36. BL February 6, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    “One day, at practice, he told us to scrimmage “shirts and skins” ”

    I’ve always wondered how girls played pick-up basketball. Pony-tails versus straight-hair?

  37. Warren February 6, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    Sorry the whole trigger warning thing is crap. It is your problem deal with it, do not expect the rest of the world to pave the way for you.

    If you have serious triggers, it is your responsibility to research the movie, the book, the course or whatever beforehand.

  38. Matt February 6, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    Fran Rider, president of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association, praised Leaside’s diligence. “Probably, you can never be overly protective,” she said.

    And that quote sums up the issue. Time to stop breeding

  39. SKL February 6, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    Well, I agree with the butt tapping. If it isn’t already common sense (sadly), I could understand telling people you don’t touch certain parts.

    But aside from that, touch is healthy. Taking it away could be behind a number of issues we see in young people.

    The trigger warnings? I don’t suppose they do any harm, but the fact is that people who are that sensitive are going to be triggered by things sooner or later. If they have these issues, they need to be working hard on that, not expecting others to create an artificially safe space. And the problem I see is that if trigger warnings are expected, then they will be demanded, and pretty soon people will be sued and fired if they fail to realize that someone, somewhere might have a problem with mustaches or extension cords (my mom’s favorite spanking tool) or, who knows, blue dolphins ….

  40. pentamom February 6, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    “I’ve always wondered how girls played pick-up basketball. Pony-tails versus straight-hair?”


    When we did stuff like this in mixed gym classes in the 70s and 80s, one team wore these things they called “pinnies” — loose-fitting pullover nylon vests.

    I think with pickup, people just remember who’s on their team. Our Y has open pickup basketball just about every night and they all keep their shirts on.

  41. pentamom February 6, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    “somewhere might have a problem with mustaches or extension cords (my mom’s favorite spanking tool) or, who knows, blue dolphins ….”

    I once was asked to watch a young teenage boy whose birth family had been abusive. I was warned to hide all the red apples, but told I could give him yellow ones. (He wound up not coming over because his parents’ plans changed.)

    I don’t know the story behind that one, not that I needed to. But yeah, triggers abound.

  42. Tsu Dho Nimh February 6, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    FFS! “because you tap a kid on the head, even when they’re wearing a helmet, you could conceivably give a kid a concussion,””

    Tap with the fingers, not hit the helmet by swinging at it with a baseball bat or hockey stick!

    Tapping on a helmet is a great way to get someone’s attention if you are out of their line of sight – helmets block a lot of peripheral vision and sound if they are fitting right.

  43. baby-paramedic February 6, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Trigger warnings have their uses, but what about the uncommon ones?
    I am a possessor of a super uncommon trigger, which is never tagged.

    I tag a few things on my personal when I know I have friends that have an acute recent history with the particular issue being discussed. To try and trigger warning everything for everyone though is impossible.

    The word trigger these days is also being overused. It is becoming “something that makes me feel uncomfortable”, rather than what it really is.

  44. Gary February 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    “trigger warning”: keep your booger hook off the bang switch.

  45. Red February 6, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    I’m not touching the comments on trigger warnings …

    But as to the whole “no touching” thing in sports, I hate it. There are reasons to touch when instructing in sports. The primary one is adjusting a stance: some people are not very good body mimics. They can get 90% of the way there, but need someone to physically do those last bits of adjustment to demonstrate correct posture or stance.

    If the whole “no touching” trend had been around when I was growing up and participating in a lot of sports, I probably would have learned a lot less, and been injured a fair bit more. Heck, even nowadays, my yoga teacher tends to adjust me in a position at least once a class. Last class, she was all over me because I totally suck at revolved half moon.

  46. Puzzled February 6, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    I agree with the comments pointing out that one of the real side-effects of banning touch is that kids have no way to learn how to tell a powerful person “please don’t touch me.” That, and trying to coach with no touching is impossible. I only ever coached non-contact sports. I could coach tennis just fine without touching – I don’t think I ever had contact with someone I was coaching in tennis. Coaching weightlifting without contact is fine – most of the time. When someone just can’t get where you want their arm or leg to go, though, pushing it into place is the only real solution. I find that better than a quad pull because you reinforced bad form on the clean rather than touching the leg.

    But this is really how bureaucracy always works – and has to be. Once you decide (wrongly, in my opinion) that you need rules to prevent every bad occurrence, and that you can’t rely on people’s judgment, there’s no way to differentiate adjusting an arm from grabbing a butt. That’s why rules are such a poor approach this sort of thing.

  47. Jenny Islander February 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    @Donna: Yes, this. When the title is “This Article is About This Heavy and Extremely Graphic Subject,” no TW is needed. If the poster says “This Movie Is About War and It’s Rated R,” no TW is needed. If it’s “Life of Famous Personage” and the course or article or movie will deal graphically with a topic that commonly triggers PTSD in the context of Famous Personage’s life, but it’s not what is commonly thought of when Famous Personage’s name is spoken, then TW please.

  48. Papilio February 7, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

    “No Touching the Girls, Even on their Helmets”

    There are breast helmets now??

    But seriously, if they think a tap on the helmet can cause a concussion, then what on earth is the helmet for in the first place??? I do believe a helmet can cause injuries in certain circumstances, but a tap on the head?!!
    Whoever came up with this rule must have been tapped on the head a bit too often 😛

  49. Andrew Jones February 7, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    OK – I posted on the newpaper’s website when I read this article (quoted below) *AND* there was a follow-up comment by the organization that will talk about *after* my quoted comment.

    Quoted comment begins:

    “Two points:

    One: Fran Rider: You’re an idiot. “Probably, you can never be overly protective,”

    This is flat-out wrong. If you think that bubble-wrapping a child on top of body armour, with a self-contained breathing/food/water system to keep them save from any imaginary danger is *normal* “because you can never be overly protective” then you are an idiot. If “some girls are uncomfortable” with some touching their shoulder through protective hockey gear, it’s probably because one parent (not going to specify which one) has brainwashed them from *birth* that all men are women-hating, aggressive molesters that are not to be trusted. Considering that the vast majority of sexual molestations in children are done by **Family and friends**, why don’t we, in the name of “Can’t be too careful” just prohibit *any* contact between adults and children – I mean, “you can never be overly protective”

    Two: ***COACHES***: IGNORE THIS RULE/GUIDELINE/PARANOID DELUSION SCENARIO. Continue as you were doing before. They’ll complain. Then they will reprimand. Then, since it’s a “zero tolerance” policy – they will have to get rid of you. Oh, wait, now we have all these teams that need coaches, and nobody wants to work for a deluded, insane group of control freaks? Oh well, guess we won’t have players to worry about anymore….

    People *really* need to get a grip these days…..Risk assessment skils: Zero. Grip on reality: Zero. Belief in the paranoid delusions of people brainwashed by too much “reality tv”: FAR, FAR TOO MUCH!”

    I admit, I was a bit grumpy at the time.

    Now the fun part 🙂

    When the shit hit the fan, what did the organization do?

    I’ll give you 3 guesses:

    1) Admit they were being paranoid and stupid and retract everything

    2) Admit that they probably were trying to shut up some busy-body parent who was making their life a living hell with endless unsubstantiated claims about how the coaches were molesting everyone

    3) Claim everything was misunderstood, that their
    “(U)nder no circumstances should there be contact with
    the players, in any way” “Putting hands on shoulders,
    slapping butts, tapping them on the helmet, NOTHING,
    this can make some of the girls uncomfortable and you
    won’t know which ones, so no contact, period.”

    rule at all, but just a suggestion that people might want to consider. That everyone who read and heard a direct, declarative sentence with a clear instruction and “under no circumstances” in it somehow misunderstood it as a rule and not just a polite suggestion….

    You guessed it – #3.

    No “We were stupid” or “We’re just trying to shut up a busybody”.
    No – *everyone* misunderstood – we just meant it as a suggested guideline – you don’t have to follow it, just an nice idea, etc, etc. The perennial song of the embarrassed bureaucrat caught sticking their foot in their mouth.

  50. JP Merzetti February 9, 2015 at 12:50 am #

    Same old story:
    Kids aren’t human enough anymore to participate in normal human activity (touching.)
    So this post-apocalyptic apologetic “shrug” for all our pathetic adult (supposedly) shortcomings in knowing how to raise healthy kids in a healthy society………reeks of a pretty unhealthy society, I’d say.
    This particular emperor has no clothes, and he’s in dire need of some bathroom tissue.

    A helmut tap? Really?
    Let’s lose ourselves in disorder chat, shall we?
    We’re all going down that road anyhow.
    Ain’t we just the grand sort.

    I’ve watched girls playing hockey.
    They’re deliciously macho about it. I love it.
    It challenges my concepts about femininity…all to the good.
    And that’s the whole point.

    I recall a certain female soccer player tearing her jersey off after her team’s win (in a national event) and the media danced all over that one like cats on a hot tin roof.
    Had that soccer player been male…the media would have gone bankrupt overnight.

    Kids are what they are.
    What they aren’t is endlessly myopic bundles of fragility.
    Never were.
    Otherwise the human race would have hardly got off the starting line, let alone survived.

    Think about it: a helmut is a piece of body armor. It is designed entirely to protect that body part most vulnerable to serious injury. It is designed to withstand a “blow” to the head. For reasons of clarification….this is because it’s the brain that’s inside.
    Makes perfect sense.

    Sport is mythically heroic, tempestuous, emotional and gigantically human in its endeavors…..the magnetic attraction of it joins humans in mutual upheavals of physical abandonment.
    In which we celebrate our bodies, and what they can do.
    All to the good.

    It’s um…..physical,people.
    Can we maybe get over that?
    And tap a helmut…lord forbid….for the right reasons?

  51. Andrea February 9, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    The absurdity of this is stunning. Whoever came up with this rule wasn’t out on the ice with the kids. From a young age they are bumping, jostling, crashing, and falling all over each other. The coaches are necessarily in the mix, and sometimes need to pick up the younger kids who can’t skate very well, or are still learning to follow directions. Tapping on the helmet is the very least of how kids get touched in hockey, and it is an integral part of certain games and activities. And they can’t even really feel the tap, because it’s a HELMET. Even a pat on the butt, while perhaps not the best idea, is probably harmless, as their butts are completely padded. It’s not like any feeling of intimacy can be felt when there’s hockey gear in the way.

    I don’t know much about all these triggers, but hockey really isn’t a sport for somebody who doesn’t like to get touched. It is necessarily rough and tumble, and not everybody is cut out for it. I have to think, though, if a kid playing hockey has an issue with touch due to a bad experience in the past, all of this good-natured jostling and bumping might in fact be a way to work through the sensitivities.

  52. Wow... February 9, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

    Wait…what? Not touching most of this but…

    If a tap on the helmet can cause a concussion…well…here’s the thing: YOU NEED BETTER HELMETS! Helmets are supposed to be able to withstand the force of an accident – that is their entire purpose. If you can still concuss someone over them…yeah, they’re useless helmets. Worse than useless, even.