Monday, March 05, 2007

We Are Lunatics

Eight and a half months. Football season comes and goes as does basketball. We overlap the first four to five weeks of baseball season too.

We get to the rink a full hour before a game because the coach wants them dressed and ready at least twenty minutes prior to faceoff. Make it thirty to forty minutes during playoffs.

We drive, usually, a minimum of a half hour to actually get to the rink du jour. In this case we're lucky...we know folks traveling out of state every other weekend.

We spend untold amounts in what I like to refer to as a snack tax. Or that's what I call the spare change/dollars that are spent on post game slushes for the boy and during the game gumballs and such for the girlie.

We can quote the Herb Brooks Miracle speech by heart. Or almost.

We travel with blankets, winter hats, gloves and jackets. Year round.

We sacrifice sleepovers, school functions and birthday parties. Sacrifice is the wrong word. Opt out is a better choice.

The parents rate the rinks by temperature and visibility. The kids know the ice surface of every rink within playing distance and they have definite preferences.

We pray for a good coach, convenient ice times and nice parents. This year we got a hat trick.

Our team, at 19-1-3 is the second best team in the league (out of, about fifty teams or so). They are not a crazy scoring machine - we have a superb goalie and a stellar defense. Today was the first round of the playoffs and we played the first place team - who've scored twice as many goals as our guys (and girl) and were undefeated.

Our coach who's a police officer and prison guard, is all business probably 95 percent of the time. The kids respect the heck out of him. And I have to say, so do I. He knows hockey like no one I've ever met. He's fair and honest and inspires the kids to want to do their best. He tolerates no shit. Not from his own kids, not from the team, not from other teams. He's only coached for three years, this is his first winning team. He is so proud of these kids and they are proud to skate for him. It is awesome to watch.

Honestly, I didn't expect them to win today. I was hoping they'd be able to keep them down to 3 or 4 goals (down from their 8 goal a game average). We don't have alot of big goal scorers - Most games have been won by a goal, maybe two. My hopes weren't high. The boy however (and the coach's son - who happens to be a great friend of the boy) did not even entertain the idea of losing.

And as my boy would say "We schooled 'em."


Not a blowout by any stretch of the imagination but a good, solid win. Those kids have never played better. The other team wasn't as tough as they thought but from the moment the puck dropped our kids were gunning to win that game. They want that big trophy and they're one game closer.

I say we when I refer to in "We played a good game". I don't always do it and generally it's only when talking to other parents but then I started listening. We all do it. Yeah, some will say we live vicariously. And maybe we do. Except that hockey is nothing BUT a team sport, and at this age, parents included. The kids on the ice - the parents off of it. We spend alot of time together...I see these folks more than I see my parents and my best friends. We commiserate over hot chocolate and coffee. We compare practice drills and discuss the pros and cons of composite sticks. We carpool and share blankets. We're in it together.
The coach could not finish his post game speech. He got a little choked up and gave the floor over to my husband and the other assistants. I think he'll be the coach I compare all future coaches by...which, sorry new coaches, but the bar has been set.
We invited the coach and his family over yesterday after the game for some pizza, beer and a post game recap. We wives figure if they can relive the plays with each other then we won't have to pretend to remember each deke and save later on. A few hours later another family shows up. Then a few dads. Then another dad. The next thing we know it's after ten p.m. - the pizza's gone, the beer - just about, the kids are on their fourth wind, the wives are wondering how we're getting them all up for school the next day, the husbands are debating the finer points of men's league hockey and A team tryouts.
We kick everyone out and my boy looks at me and says "That. Was. Awesome."
So, there ya go.


SneakyPeek said...

I love it ...

the post AND your dedication to the sport.


blackbird said...

Lunatics? maybe...
But I like litter better than reading about it and you do it justice.

I feel your pride and love and sense of community
and I thank you
for a great post.

Jennifer said...

I don't think you're lunatics... I think you're dedicated... and just think of the memories you're creating for your kids :)

Amy said...

That totally rocks. Way to school 'em Mom!!

MommaK said...

You're fulfilled - not crazy. Honestly, I think it's wonderful and that your kids are very lucky ducks.