As minor hockey resumes across our country, it’s time to turn our attention to an age-old question: What if parents of young children behaved the same way at the local Christmas pageant as some do at a kids’ hockey game?
Scene: Parents take their seats. Quiet conversations ensue.
Woman: I can’t believe they’re letting Justin play one of the wise men. Tucker is a way better genuflector.
Man: Or Liam. At least Liam keeps two hands on the myrrh.
Woman: And let’s be realistic—Carson as a shepherd? He’s barely cut out to play Donkey No. 3. I mean, you call that vibrato? No wonder he got cut by the touring company.
Man: I’m thinking of taking over the pageant next year. I don’t have any training of any kind and I don’t know anything, but I think I’ve seen enough episodes of Glee to do a better job than these bozos.
Scene: A choir of children performs a holiday standard.
Emma’s dad [standing up]: Come on, Emma—sing. SING! SINNNNNNG!!!!! Sing harder, Emma! SING HARRRRRRRRRDER!!!!!!
Emma’s mom [gesturing to her husband and whispering to the person next to her]: Sorry, he takes this whole thing pretty seriously.
Emma’s dad [now standing on a chair]: Go, Emma!! SINNNNNNNG!!!!
Emma’s mom [turning red]: Sorry. He’s just . . . I’m sorry.
Emma gets distracted by one of the bunnies being used to decorate the manger scene.
Emma’s dad [now standing on a different chair that someone’s still sitting in]: COME ON, EMMA!! FOCUS, EMMA!!!!!! GET YOUR HEAD IN THE SONG!!!!!!!
Scene: The foyer at intermission. A couple holds court in a small group of adults.
Husband: So we’ve enrolled Zach in after-school training with a private coach. He’s singing carols three hours a day, seven days a week. And that’s on top of his tongue-strengthening exercises. It’s a big commitment, but it’s the only way he’s ever going to get scouted by the major choirs.
Wife: He loves it. You can tell he loves it.
Husband: He totally loves it. I mean, he says he doesn’t love it. Or like it. Or ever want to do it any more. And he cries a lot and says we’ve ruined his life. But you can tell he loves it.
Wife: You can tell.
Scene: Children gather around the manger. A boy begins playing a drum, steady at first. He falters briefly, but the show continues. Grown men in the audience begin hollering.
— Come on!
— Wake up, conductor. YOU GOTTA CALL THAT!
— Are you deaf?? You’re missing a good pageant, Mrs. Rinaldo!
Scene: The climax of the show approaches. An angelic child steps into the spotlight and, despite obvious nerves, begins singing Silent Night. The audience falls quiet for a moment until . . .
Woman: Is it just me, or is this a little pitchy?
Man [shouting]: Stop hogging the song—pass off the third verse at least!
Emma’s dad: PUT THE BUNNY DOWN, EMMA!! PUT IT DOWNNNNN!!!!
Scene: A little boy dressed as a cow walks to the car with his father.
Dad: What did I tell you about lowing? Is that how I taught you to low? It’s mooooooo, all right? Moooooooo.
Kid: OK, Dad.
Dad: You sounded like a dying hamster up there.
Kid: Mr. Whiskers died?
Dad: All those hours we spent lowing in the backyard. The long drives into the country. The three days we spent squatting in that dairy farmer’s barn. And you blew it.
Kid: Sorry, Dad.
Dad: We’re going to get home and you’re going to practise your lowing until you get it right.
Kid: OK, Dad.
They get into the car. Before he pulls away, the father looks up and catches his son’s gaze in the rear view mirror. The boy has tears in his eyes.
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk