Hello all, I would like to introduce you to my friend Kileigh7. We have known each other since elementary school. We met thanks to our two Girl Scout troops coordinating events together. Lots of happy memories from our childhood and college years. Now as parents, we bounce ideas about raising boys off of each other. Thanks to Kileigh7 for her guest post!
I’ve been on an adventure for two years now. One that I can follow the trail back to the beginning of, but one I never, ever thought I’d be on. Yet, here I am. On this adventure. What adventure? I think to tell this story, I have to rewind to college. I was peeking around for a few things to do and a friend of mine suggested I accompany her to a hockey game. It seemed like a good idea, so I went. It started a trend where I would bring people along with me. I would hang with a few people with season tickets (including the owner of this blog!) and would giggle at those with the best display, including a woman who had a referee on a pole that she would swing for a bad call. The view from my seats used to look like this:
When I started dating my other half, I half dragged him along to hockey games. I soon converted him into a hockey fan. I even found hockey on the west coast-dragging poor Doug to Ducks training camp. Hey-I was on break. Thank you Year round school for giving me time off during training camp season!
So, it was no shock that when we had Isaac, hockey was planned to be a huge part of his upbringing. One of his first pairs of pajamas was a "hockey bear" print. We had all of these grandiose plans to introduce him to the Ducks and take him to Ducks camp. That didn’t happen. Not at all. Why?
Dang. There went the plan to turn my child into a hockey fan. Oh, well. There’s always next season.
And then we moved back east. Back to the home of minor league hockey. It was then that I decided it was high time that I took my child into the winter past time that keeps me sane.
Opening night. My annual tradition. I size up the team, see if any of the players trips over a carpet during intros (Yes, that happened.) and generally get my hockey on. That fateful night, everything changed. I asked my then 5 year old if he wanted to go down on the ice and participate in the autograph session. His eyes lit up and I left my other half and my parents and signed the waiver forms for me and the small boy. He brought his mini goalie stick and we got in the lines, with the intrepid help of a few friends. Then, it happened. He went and met one of the goalies who saw his mini stick and asked if he liked hockey (yes.) and if he was going to play (huh?) and if he was going to be a GOALIE. I thought I was going to die when the resounding "YEAH!!" came from Isaac’s lips.Please realize, my child has PT. He has low core strength, wears leg braces and has a turn in of his legs. I had no idea how I was going to whap this out of his head.
Curse you, Goalie!! Curse you!!
The next morning, Isaac came to me and told me that he wanted to join the team. I quickly outlined the main problems with this theory:
1. Age-he was 5. 2.Stature-a bit short and light. 3. The biggest problem-Not able to skate. He wandered away and came back and asked to learn how to skate.
What? Learn to skate? Oh, boy. We’d barely mastered soccer. How are we going to skate!?
Oh, well. I wasn’t in love with the whole soccer experience, so let’s go…
So, after several phone calls and the promise of loaner gear later, Isaac was signed up for "Learn to Skate for Hockey."
Wait-Did I just… Yes, I did. I signed my child up for hockey.
Soon, we were in the throws of gearing up. I was also learning things I never, ever thought I’d need to know-like how to fit a hockey stick. I was also beating off comments from family and friends that ranged from me being completely and totally out of my gourd to inquiring about the ins and outs of my dental plan.
Sooner than I thought, Isaac was on the ice and learning how to skate in full hockey gear. On a bucket. Gripping his stick like someone would steal it if he even thought of letting it go.
It was then I figured out what made me so not a fan of soccer-
Soccer parents screamed at the kids (even at the Kindergarten level!) and it was just high pressure. Here we were in hockey, chatting with everyone, drinking really bad coffee and laughing at our small bobbleheads on the ice. It was a totally different vibe. We discussed everything from work to the program itself and then onto travel mugs that worked in the icy conditions of what came to be known as "rink freezer."
It was refreshing. It was fun. It was a good way to spend a few hours out of my week.
More importantly, Isaac was loving it. He was a part of a team. He was learning to follow someone else besides us and his teacher. He realized what Mommy and Daddy loved so much about hockey and why we were desperate to bring him along with us.
When this season rolled around, it was all about getting back into hockey. He was beyond ready. He had his base skills-could sorta skate, stand on his own, and sorta hold his stick properly.
But a few times stepping out on the local university ice rink
he was all about improving. It didn’t hurt that he found out that his buddy from school played the level above him, and he could join him next year if he did well enough!
The parents? Still the best ever. We again, drink bad coffee, freeze in rinks, share photos and get up at the break of dawn, as ice time is beyond early. We still all laugh at our kids and cheer them all on.
But the smile under the face cage?
makes it all worth it.
It reminds me why I love this game. It reminds me why I started this adventure in the first place.
Oh, and for those that want to know-
To properly fit a hockey stick, it needs to be up to your nose in bare feet and to your chin in skates.
Thank you again to Laura for a look at life as a hockey mom. Please be sure to stop by her blog and say hello.