“Hello my name is Michelle. And I’m a hockey Mom”.
Never, ever could I have imagined that I would utter these words. Those who know me well know that I am not exactly a hockey enthusiast. So how did this happen?
I grew up in a hockey family. In my childhood home, winter equaled hockey. My brother could cite NHL statistics long before he could ride a bike. He played competitive hockey for years and my father enthusiastically coached his team (in fact, my father’s coaching career extended well beyond my brother’s commitment to the sport). My mother was most definitely a hockey Mom. She could be found dutifully cheering in the stands – with a cowbell in hand! I, on the other hand, grudgingly accompanied the rest of my family to these cold, smoke-filled arenas, complaining the whole time.
This past May, my son tried out for his first competitive hockey team. I have to admit, I entered into the try-outs with great trepidation. Did I really want to repeat the past? Was I prepared for hockey to take over our lives – disrupting our carefully planned schedules and sending us to far corners of the city?
As it turns out, my husband, who typically takes care of all hockey-related activities, was away for part of the try-outs. I reluctantly agreed to bring my son. And then, something unbelievable happened. I began hoping against all hope that he would make the team. I know that other parents will relate to this. For the first time in his life, my son wanted something that I was helpless to deliver for him. He desperately wanted to make the team – and so I desperately wanted it for him. After several agonizing days of try-outs, we received the good news… My son had made the cut!
On top of it all, my husband agreed to be one of the assistant coaches. We also hosted the first parents meeting at our house. And you know what? I was thrilled! For, as much as I remember being dragged to damp rinks as a kid, I also remember this: my parents met wonderful people in those arenas. To this day, some of my parents’ most treasured friendships are rooted in those early days of hockey. There is something truly magical about getting together with other people to cheer on your kids as they play a game they love.
Hockey season has just begun and my son’s team had their first exhibition game yesterday. I am happy to report that they won 6-3. And I cheered them on the whole time, surrounded by other hockey parents. My daughter sat beside me in the stands, looking thoroughly unimpressed – placated only by popcorn from the concession stand. I can only hope that she too will one day look back at this experience fondly.
If you’re looking for me this winter, you’ll find me at the rink!