Taking your kids to the rugby

I’m not a huge fan of the crowds at the rugby, and I am also a little disgusted at – what sounds like – the endemic xenophobia and sore-loserism of All Black fans at matches. That being said, I have mixed opinions about this:

Mr Hitchen and his “really excited” 5- and 8-year-old daughters were seated in front of an unruly bunch of All Blacks supporters who were swearing and drinking.

When Mr Hitchen asked them to use other, less colourful words, they turned their swearing on the young family.

“After repeatedly asking the fans to mind their language, they replied with ‘who brings their kids to the f*****g rugby?’

Who indeed? It sounds like this Mr. Hitchen took his daughters to the rugby expecting them not to hear swearing or see anybody drinking. Bad call. I assume a group of people who’ve worked hard all week then shelled out a good deal of money for tickets, booze, & parking were probably not in a mood to moderate their language or drinking (& probably even less of a mood to comply when condescendingly TOLD to do so by a tut-tutting parent). It’s also probably not a bad idea to assume this even if you aren’t the parents of children.

Which is why I have little sympathy for these parents(& also why I stay away from rugby games).

Swearing in general, is an odd thing to be concerned about protecting your kids from. Actually, the concept of protecting ones children from anything is – historically – a relatively new concept. From the beginning of human history, and right through the early industrial age, children were only children for a brief period of time – and there was no intermediate ‘teenage’ stage. As soon as children were old enough to step outside the house they were dressed up as mini-adults and had to socialise with, and work next to, other adults. Historically then, children have probably been exposed to far more ‘colourful’ language than they are today.

Now, of course, society has come full circle. True, kids no longer work beside adults, but they effectively use public and virtual spaces that are populated by adults.

Not only that, but swearing itself has become a lot more common than it used to be. Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction once shocked us with it’s level of profanity, a decade later ‘In the Loop’ barely made us wince (despite having double the amount of profanity and featuring a colourful analogy involving Jane Austen and a horse’s private parts).

It’s time to acknowledge that it’s unreasonable to expect society to bend over backwards to protect ones children from things society otherwise engages in regularly and openly. If you want to protect your children from swearing and the scent of alcohol then it’s probably not the best idea to take them to a rugby match or a bar – two places known for the presence of both. In fact, if you have a problem bringing kids into a world filled with swear words then you probably shouldn’t have them in the first place.

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