City Confidential: Season 11, Episode 6

Reading, MA: Fatal Blow (8 Aug. 2005)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Documentary
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Crime | Documentary

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8 August 2005 (USA)  »

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Fighting At The Rink, Not On It - Another Indictment Of Youth Sports Parents
14 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This must have been a tough case for the jurors; at least I found it so. I couldn't make a decision just on what this program offered, I know that. City Confidential almost always takes sides. The more you watch this interesting program, the more you see their bias generally and on individual cases. However, I thought they were more than fair in this instance, giving both sides equal time.

It was a tough case involving two overzealous youth hockey parents. There was little premeditation, if any. These two guys didn't know each other. It was a fight in the corridors of the hockey arena and one guy killed another with one of his punches. That's all it was....but did the man go too far? Frankly, I'm not sure because the man who threw the punch that began the fisticuffs is the one who died. Yet, the two men had fought five minutes earlier, finished it, and the "victor" came back inside. Was he looking to continue the fight, or did he go back inside to check on his kid. You get both versions.

Whatever, it was another indictment of what people used to call "Little League parents," meaning parents who take their kids' sporting events way too seriously. As pointed out in this program, that is a problem in hockey because the parents invest more money, for one thing, than in any other sport. Ice time is expensive and valuable and some of these parents and kids are at the rink in the middle of the night! New England is one of the hotbeds of youth hockey in America.

In the short profile of Reading, we learn that hockey fever there began in the 1970s when Bobby Orr and "the Big, Bad Bruins" brought a lot of attention to the Boston area.

Perhaps the most interesting segment of this episode was the history of Michael Castin, the man who was beaten to death. He had a roller-coaster history of good and bad. Castin had a big alcoholic problem in high school, then went stone sober for eight years and got married, then went off the wagon and wound up in jail and divorced, finally to return as a "Mr. Mom," spending all his time with his kids and being a devoted father. His mother is interesting here as she discusses her son, his problems, his good points and what happened to him. Of course, she's biased but she was very honest, too.

The other key figure in this case was Thomas Junta, a parent who happened to come by and thought the play on the ice was way too rough for just a pickup game....and wound up inadvertently killing the coach. In this program, his brother sticks up for him.

It's a bizarre case but one that got huge media attention and, hopefully, toned down some of action on the part of spectators at youth events. However, every year we hear about some parents, whatever the sport, getting violently out of control.


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