By the time I was 10, it got worse. He would put cigarettes out on me. Choke me. Throw full soda cans at my head. Every time I stepped on the ice, I knew that my play would determine just how bad I got it when we got home. I’d score a hat trick, and afterward we’d get in the car and he would tell me that I played “like a faggot” (that was his favorite term, which says a lot).
I thought it was normal. As a kid, you just don’t know any better. He would wake me up at 5 a.m. and force me to work out for two hours before school. I remember I had this heavy leather jump rope, and if he thought I wasn’t working hard enough, he would force me to take my shirt off and he’d whip me with it. If the jump rope wasn’t around, he would use an electrical cord.
He always stopped short of knocking me unconscious, because that would defeat his purpose. See, if I was passed out, I couldn’t train.
This was a difficult one to get through. But, Sports Parents everywhere owe it to the Patrick O’Sullivans of the world to read it and learn the lessons.