I popped into the local arena last week-end. As soon as I opened the door the smell of artificial ice, stale hockey equipment and concession stand hotdogs evoked strong memories of my time as a hockey Mom.
I was at the rink to visit my cousin who was in town for a hockey tournament. As I sat with the other parents, I had a whole new perspective. It was déjà vu. Suddenly I was an impartial observer looking down at a big chunk of my past life.
Both my son and daughter played travel hockey. This meant ink-filled calendars identifying practice and game times, not to mention the fund-raisers, additional power skating sessions and of course the social aspects of the team. I believe the organizational and administrative skills of hockey moms can challenge those of any C.E.O.s of a major corporation.
As I sat in the bleachers with my cousin, I flash-backed to those years I was an active hockey mom. I heard the cheering for the goals for and the disappointment for the goals against. I also heard like I did so many years ago, the quiet whispers when a player made a mistake and of course the running commentary of how the coach should be doing his job. Between games there was also gentle kidding about the escapades in the hotel the night before. There is still disdain towards the parent who allows swimming prior to the game. Everyone believes all energy must be saved for the big game. I wanted to step in and tell these parents they are taking it too seriously. I realize now ten year old kids have energy for an afternoon swim, an early evening hockey game and post-game pizza party at night. I wanted them to learn from my experiences. I wanted to shout from the arena rafters it doesn’t really matter. Just let the kids have fun! I decided to keep it to myself. Hockey lessons, like most important life lessons, need to be learned through experience.
The unspoken thing is everyone dreams their kid is going to be the one. While parents know deep down the odds of making the NHL are greater than hitting the lottery, every hockey parent has spent at least a minute or two thinking somehow it might just happen, or at the very least their child will make the select team.
While the dreams of making the NHL never came to pass for my family I feel we have hit the hockey lottery. My daughter still plays pick up hockey with her university friends and my husband and son just headed out the door to play with their men’s league team. After the game they will probably stop and share a beer together while they tell each lies about how well they played. While in hindsight I would have taken my hockey mom duties less seriously, I wouldn’t have given up a minute of the time our family spent together.