So today was the start of my second Boston-area hockey camp for Rick Heinz. After registration was complete my assistant and I gave our introductions then proceeded to get ready to go on the ice in order to start the camp. Everything was going well until the Zamboni guy informed me that I had to go to the main office and speak with the Board of Health. "Oh great," I thought, "They're going to make me put on a helmet and throw a hissy fit about how the head coaches aren't wearing helmets." So at 10:20, at the point of our ice cut, I went into the main office prepping myself for the intended "helmet lecture" and how I might possibly fall and crack open my head bleeding everywhere before slowly falling into a coma and dying... well... maybe just hitting my head, but that version isn't as entertaining and wouldn't make headlines. Anyway, the "No Helmet = Death lecture" was about to begin when the lady, Nancy, said to me, "Are you the director?"
"I'm the head instructor," I replied. Then came the big blow... "Where's your paperwork?" This began her onslaught of questions I had no answer to. "What paperwork?" She barked back, "Your CORI and SORI, do you have them? Who's trained in CPR, more importantly, do you have a physician on hand? Where are the kids health forms?" So I calmly answered her, "Well, I honeslty don't take care of any of the paperwork, I'll go call the main office and let them know about this and then you should call and speak with them to get a more sufficient answer." So I left, called the office, gave them a heads up and then proceeded back on the ice for the second ice session.
The second session also went great, the kids worked extremely hard and had an absolute blast, as did I. 11:50 rolled around, time for us to get off the ice. So we picked up the pucks and began to leave the ice surface - then all hell broke loose. My dearest friend Nancy was there with her friend from the department of health in Marlboro. The lady looked at me and said she needed to speak with me. "Okay", I though, this may or may not be good. It wasn't. She informed me that the state of Massachussets was cancelling the camp and that I was not be anywhere near the children anymore. I didn't have a CORI on file, so she indicated that I might be a child molestor and no one would know it, or possibly even one of my staff might be. Then she proceeded to cite some ordinance or regulation that we violated - literally by the reg. number. I looked at her and said, "That means nothing to me." So she gave me the gist and basically said, once again, that the camp was cancelled. Then came a barrell of laughs for me, "Are the kids all three feet apart," she asked. I just gave her that look, you know, the "how dumb are you look?" They're all crammed into a tiny locker room, what do you think the correct answer that one is? So she ordered that I keep them three feet apart just in case someone sent their plague ridden child into the world with a highly communicable disease that might kill us all in one foul swoop. So I went into the locker room, told the kids to go eat lunch and that they'd have to sit three feet apart... but mind you, I can't enforce it because I am no longer responsible for them, how did she expect all this to get done? I might moleste them while trying to tell them to sit three feet apart.
To make a long story marginally shorter, the camp was finally cancelled when the Massachussetts board of health denied our request to hold a four day camp instead of a school. Why does five days matter more than four? This is the kicker. A school is only considered a "camp" if kids spend 5 days or more with the same group during a time span of two consecutive weeks. If we had run a four day camp, the board wouldn't have been able to touch us. So you got it, if you want to moleste children in Massachussetts, just hold a four day camp, because only on the fifth day, apparently, will you get around to molesting them, but your camp will be over! Now, it probably still wouldn't have mattered for us, and here's why. Our brochure says that it is a hockey school, and the goaltending brochure never says the word "camp", which is good. But in the player brochure, on page whatever in the middle of the brochure the words, "A Day at Camp" appear to describe what the school is like on an average day. Thus we would be considered a camp anyway because the brochure has the word camp in it once to describe the daily routine. So instead of running a background check on my partner and I to see that we have never molested kids and are not registered sex offenders, we had to cancel the camp.
I think one of the fathers said it best, "When adults and the government get involved, the kids always lose." Amen. Most of the people had nothing good to say about the Commonwealth of Massholes, and neither do I. It's a shame that these kids, who all said they had a blast at their one day of hockey school won't get to have a second, a third, fourth or fifth skate. It really is a shame. I guess it's for their safety.