All she wanted was to be with him. She looked at him with those tell-all eyes. There was no denying that he wanted her too. He could not confess this to anyone, though, because there were others he wanted just as dearly. He knew the truth: the only reason she wanted to be with him was to be closer to her – another ‘she’. He could put up with her incessant pleading no more. “I am but one man! I can only do so much!” he implored. It didn’t matter. He knew there would be many more compromises and sacrifices to come.
And so go the trade negotiations in girls’ recreational minor hockey sort-out scrimmages. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, mouthguard for mouthguard – it’s a delicate dance of the chicks with sticks and a genuinely demanding job for the coaches.
My daughter’s hockey association is fielding 6 teams this year at her age level, and I admit that in recreational hockey that it’s important that the teams are as equitably balanced as possible from a skill perspective. When one or two teams are stacked with highly skilled players, it only serves to diminish everyone else’s enjoyment and development. My daughter’s enjoyment of the game is very important to me. Why else would I get up at some God-forsaken time of the day to drive her to a 7:00am practice (next Sunday, by the way, folks).
But enough about my daughter, let’s talk about me.
Each year I pray to my inebriated divine spirit that the recreational hockey sort-outs will result in team placements that meet with my expectations too. After all, with each player comes a set of parents … and grandparents … and siblings. We will spend a lot of time together, upwards of 100 hours in fact, not including 3 full weekends away at hockey tournaments and other team functions. So each year, I pray that my fellow hockey parents will accept me. And by “accept me”, I mean talk to me. I mean, if I say potAto and she says potahto, it’s no big deal, but if I say pinot grigio and she says Jose Cuervo, well, there might be some sorting out to do off the ice before the first tournament of the season (unless of course there’s a designated driver; then it’s all good).
This year, I’ve decided this year to issue this practical, and oh-so-helpful, 3-point list for all my fellow hockey parents to ensure we understand each other from the outset. It’s a long season, people, and I think this will go equally a long way to eliminate animosity and uneasiness amongst us all (and by “all”, I mean me):
- When I confess to you that I am a veteran hockey mom entering my 12th season, please don’t take this to mean that I know anything about hockey. I don’t. In all my years as a hockey parent, my appreciation for the game does not exceed an enhanced ability to stitch name bars on the back of hockey jerseys and pack 3 hockey bags in one vehicle. I am still working on fitting in the accompanying 3 players.
- I travel to tournaments with a glass wine glass. I have standards. I also have feelings so please don’t make fun of me until I am out of earshot.
- I do not own a vuvuzela. And if you happen to own a vuvuzela, do not sit next to me or behind me. Because I, on the other hand, do happen to own a cast iron frying pan and carry it with me in my purse. Consider yourself warned.
I have an infinite amount of patience for rookie hockey players, but diminishing patience for rookie hockey parents, so let’s all just understand each other okay. And by “understand each other”, I mean understand me.
Because now I’ve got far bigger worries as a hockey mom: despite the fact that sort outs are done and team rosters are complete, it’s not over. No, not by a long shot.
Lord have mercy … and pinot grigio.