I know, I know, no one cares about ice hockey. Except Canadians, Russians, and sociology bloggers, that is. Up here, hockey is in the news because someone did a study to dispel a widely held myth so stupid that it burns. The idea is that introducing body checking in hockey at a younger age reduces the number of concussions and other injuries. If they learn to check earlier, it is held, they will be better at it, so it won’t cause as much damage. This is like saying the more you hit a hammer with a nail the more resistant the nail will become to sinking into the wood.
This recent study shows otherwise, with starting checking a year younger having no effect on rates of injuries. Perhaps the governing body of hockey in Canada will smarten up and increase the age at which checking is introduced to kids from 11 years old, the age at which some kids are tiny and others have hit their growth spurts. To something older. Like 65. I doubt they will, though, because they prefer their masculine fantasies about what makes the sport great to the brains of the thousands of children who participate in competitive ice hockey. Can you imagine how productive the country would be if we didn’t ritualistically damage the brains of our kids? I doubt we will ever find out.
(And before you start to feel too smug, you should know that Americans are doing the same thing, except with football.)