A good buddy and teammate showed me this today. The original source is unknown, but I thought it was fitting for the time of season. The dad who wrote it definitely understands what hockey’s really about… Almost brought a tear to my eye thinking about the times I had with my dad, and the times I’ll undoubtedly have with my son.
These next few weeks may be the last times I see my boy lace ‘em up with an organized team. Fourteen years ago we started, not really knowing anything about this marvelous game. He skated out onto the ice as wobbly as can be. Tonight he glides across the ice cutting his edges into the glimmering sheet of white and throwing snow up to the top of the glass with a hockey stop we could only dream about way back when. He’s worn different jerseys, traveled all over the state and country, in rinks at 6am and 12 midnight. Hotels, motels, sleeping in the van and now the bus – he’s been a real road warrior. He’s had great coaches and some not so great coaches. Some years have been great some not. But all in all, he’s met so many other young men and women that have the same passion and they give their all at game time.
Like you, we’ve spent thousands of dollars on this habit forming game. Sometimes we fell into the marketing and bought the white Fedorov skates, the Nike aluminum sticks, the mini stick games, etc., but we did it for him.
He’s played forward and defense and even played goalie at a tournament and let in 20 goals, but still loved it. Always smiling when he came off the ice, he put reality into our over competitiveness as parents. He simply loved the game.
This week though, it might be different. It may finally hit him that from here on, it might be an occasional lunch skate, Friday night drop in, or maybe adult leagues. How will he deal with it, win or lose after that final game? How will I deal with it?
I only hope we’ve raised him so that his perspective will be positive. He knows that he’s not our only son. Yes, he has a brother that skates too, but over the years he’s had hundred of “brothers” – his team mates. Some have been “best buds”, others have faded into history. But no matter what happens, when and where he ever meets up with these kids again, they have a bond that no one can ever take away. Without a doubt, a hockey team relationships is unique – especially the locker room antics.
Over the next few years, tragedies will occur. Families will split up, some of the parents or even team mates will die and life may no longer be as simple as pulling on the old smelly gear. How will my son deal with this? I don’t know, but I do know that through the help of hundreds of other parents, he’s learned so much more about life than I did as a child.
After the last buzzer, God it will be hard. But hugs, tears of disappointment or success will still support the love I have for him and his accomplishments.
Maybe he will continue on. Maybe it’s Juniors, maybe college club hockey, and yes, maybe beer leagues. I may not be able to see him, but I’ll know that if he’s on the ice, he’s in his element and the world is fine.Son, thanks for the joy you’ve given me over the years, you’ve turned out to be an outstanding young man and I’m sure your future is bright. The only thing I ask of you anymore about this game is: When the time is right, please give back for honor and respect those that did the same for you.
Bless all the kids that will lace ‘em up this week and hit the ice in their last games.
One thought on “Some Hockey Nostalgia”
I got a lump in my throat reading this also. Sorry this comment is so long winded. My son is just starting a learn to play program Saturday. My son will turn 5 in June and put on skates for the first time on March 17th this year. He fell as soon as he stepped on the ice and maybe about 40 times in the 1/2 hour lesson. He was teased by the 2 other boys that had about 3 months under their belts. He cried only once about 1/2 way through when he was tired of falling and the teasing. I gave him a few words of encouragement he went back out and finished his lesson. He only cried one more time when the lesson was over and he had to take off his skates. All he asked was can we go again tomorrow the rest of the day. I took him to the public session the next day that lasted about 2 1/2 hours, we stayed out for the whole time. He cried again when we had to go. When I got him home his mom helped him get changed and she showed me a huge throbbing blister on his big toe. He said don’t worry it’ll get better. The next day he insisted on going again blister and all. I took him thinking he wouldn’t last a second with the skates on. 3 hours later we where kicked off the ice because the session was over. I couldn’t believe it because I know it had to have hurt. I take him every chance I get. We played street hockey a little when he wants to and he can hold his own with a tennis ball. Whether hockey takes him to a Stanley Cup, juniors, travel team, termite inhouse team or only to the end of the first learn to play program for the next 9 weeks. These past 3 weeks I couldn’t have been happier or prouder. The best part is he asked me to learn to play. I had asked him in the past but he didn’t seem serious answering yeah OK. After his first experience at an ECHL game he was hooked. The fact that the local mites team played between periods put it over the top. I’ll let him take himself as far as he wants it, I’ll never push, only support him. Thanks for doing this to help parents help their kids and even for my own benefit.