Matt Gemmell:

Swearing isn’t bad language. Swearing is essential language.

I have a job where language is a tool of immense importance. No, not writing.[1]

I referee hockey games. Not at as high a level as many of my friends, but at a high enough level that I work with full grown men.

And language — more aptly “profanity” — is used to all levels of the extreme.

I get asked a lot about the language I hear on the ice. I also get asked about my language on the ice. The same answer is given for both questions.

“The language is not for the faint of heart.”

Officials are supposed to be above “swearing” on the ice. But that’s an age old adage for respect.

I think there’s a difference between respectful behaviour and language. Good language does not equal respect. Nor does bad language equate to disrespect. They are not directly correlated. Language is a tool to be used to communicate a message. The severity of the message being delivered is defined solely by the words used to communicate the message.

Profanity is used by players, coaches and officials alike because there is a mutual knowledge of the guidelines. The F-word does not mean the F-word as English defines it. It means “very”, or “much”, or “leave” or whatever you want it to mean.

That’s the beauty of language. It evolves. It moves forward. Bad language is bad language because we decided it should be bad language.

We can also choose for bad language to not have a negative impact on our feelings and emotions.

Matt Gemmell is a talented writer who I often disagree with.

Today I agree with him.

Head on over to understand the artistic aspect of delivering an impressive profane word. Matt is one of the best for a reason.

Pinboarding this one for future conflict management.

Although I do wish this was my job.