This post appeared in my weekly Hockey Mom Monday post for Hockey Now.
My 15-year-old daughter is helping to coach four-year-old hockey players this year in her association’s Timbits hockey.
And by “coach” I mean she’s bending down and picking them up off the ice about 20 times an hour or giving them a gentle shove to generate some momentum.
And their young hockey moms? They’re sitting there in the stands with their gleaming new travel mugs, fully charged cameras and still-white winter jackets.
They as adorable as their Timbits!
As a veteran hockey mom, I’ve said and done some pretty stupid things over the course of my minor hockey mom career. So for the benefit of those adorable young hockey moms, here are some truly stupid rookie moves most new hockey mom will make at least a few of:
1. Let your kids play hockey indoors
“It’s just a tennis ball. What harm could it possibly do?”
You have no idea. Say goodbye to all your light fixtures, framed prints and your washer and dryer.
2. Give your kid 50 cents for the hockey card machine.
“It’ll keep him occupied on the car ride home.”
And every single car ride home for the next eight years. Game over.
3. Get to the arena without the hockey gear
“He’s old enough to remember to put his gear in the back of the van!”
Sure he is. He’s five years old after all and practically a genius.
4. Offer to handle the team Bingo fundraiser
“It will be fun!”
Sure it will. There are bingo ladies at the bingo fundraiser. That is all you need to know.
5. Stay up really late at a party the night before a 6AM hockey practice.
“I’ll just stay for one more”
Which turns into three more. You’re up the (frozen) creek now … and again when that 5 a.m. alarm clock goes off.
6. Eat an arena canteen hot dog
“They look so tasty and I’m so hungry.”
You do realize it’s been there for three hours, rotating in its own fat. Trust me. Save your #YOLO for the potato chips.
7. Host the team ice-breaker party
“It will be fun. Really, how bad can that be?”
Bad. Imagine sixteen 10-year-old boys and their siblings and their drinking parents. Think about it.
8. Forget to remind your kid to go to the bathroom before all the hockey equipment is on
“That’s ok, Sweetie, this will just take a minute.” No, it won’t. “You’ll be back on the ice in no time.”
No, she won’t. You might as well just undress her and go home. Game over.
9. Forget to double-check the hockey schedule
“It automatically downloads to my iCal.”
Uh-huh. Until you realize there’s no one from your team at the arena and just maybe the schedule changed. And you’re totally screwed because your kid is the goalie.
10. Say stuff like:
“It’s fine. I’m sure there’s a gas station on the way”.
It’s not fine. Sign up for a CAA card. Now.
Really, they’re honest mistakes. You’ll be forgiven – I know I was. Don’t worry, Momma’s here to help!
Three cheers for all the rookie hockey moms!
For some reason, hockey moms have a teensy weensy reputation for drinking. I sure I didn’t start it but may have contributed to that rumour over the course of my hockey mom years. Perhaps it comes from that little shot of brandy in the coffee to get you through a 6AM practice or maybe the Canadian beer smuggled across the border for the Rochester tournament or very likely having to squeeze a dozen or so women into a hotel room to socialize. Whatever the reason, there’s usually a good story.
I realize it’s just the beginning of the hockey season and nothing could have possibly gone wrong yet, right? But once in a while, a hockey mom’s day goes so terribly offside that some liquid relief is necessary. The inspiration for this post came from a viral posting on some pretty hysterical wine pairings written by Jeff W. As a veteran hockey mom, I’m here to help with your hockey mom wine pairings.
The setting: You’ve been driving through blinding snow all the live-long day and finally get to the hotel. You do not want to be asked, “Do you have a reservation?” Obviously you have a reservation. You’re also obviously the last one here since the only parking spot left is in another time zone. There were no trolleys in the lobby, they’re all the second floor being used as bumper cars by the three Atom teams staying there. As you approach the front desk whisking sopping wet hair away from your eyes, breathlessly muttering, “Ughhh what a drive! I cannot wait to get out of these clothes,” to the front desk clerk, who peers over a computer with apathy since you’ve obviously interrupted a really good part of episode two of season seven of Grey’s Anatomy. “I don’t seem have a reservation for you. Are you sure you’re at the right hotel?” Oh, dear God.
The Drink: Crown Royal Special Reserve
Pairs nicely with desperation and lost hotel reservations
The setting: Somehow you’ve driven all the way to the hockey arena without your child’s hockey stick. It’s their job to put it in the car right? So if their signature top-shelf wrist shot doesn’t make its mark because they had to borrow their teammate’s back up stick which is either three sizes too small or too large, that is not your problem.
The Drink: Three Sticks 2012 Chardonnay
Pairs nicely with incessant nagging
The setting: You’re sitting through your third minor hockey game of the day. Now you’ve been tossed out of a game by the referee. You’re not THAT hockey parent, you’ve never been THAT hockey parent – something just snapped. Call it exhaustion. Call it frustration. But call a spade a spade – it was still inexcusable. Now you’re totally embarrassed and you just want to slink into the back seat of your car and cool your jets … and steal the fifth of vodka from your oldest son’s backpack. You’ll like this one – just don’t drink the whole bottle and then go back into the arena to apologize.
The drink: Polar Ice Vodka (best consumed right out of the bottle)
Pairs nicely with remorse and embarrassment
The setting: Your child has just advanced to the next round of playoff hockey. This is entirely unexpected given their regular season play but – still – you’re really excited for them. Until you discover that the playoff games conflict with the girls’ weekend you’ve been planning for months (assuming the hockey season would be over). After 80 emails you’ve come to the realization that there’s no changing the date. You’re just going to have to suck it up and tell your husband he’s on his own.
The drink: Dog House White VQA (husbands are equally if not more familiar with this varietal)
Pairs nicely with – um – being in the dog house.
So as you can see, I am clearly an expert hockey oenologist. Let me help you! Whatever your hockey mom situation, I am certain I can find the drink for you! Leave your hockey mom traumas in the comments and I will prescribe the right remedy for you. Oh, and cheers, by the way!!
Please drink responsibility and know your options for getting home from hockey safely!
Someone once told me that boys will always love their mothers, forever and for always. Boys may not break our hearts but they sure break our backs. Both my boys have shared a room for the better part of the last eighteen years and both recently left for university. Somehow instead of double the mess, the wreckage that is their bedroom was a disaster of epidemic proportions. There are school supplies in that room seeking political asylum. It took me until October to venture in there because when you order a Hazmat suit online, seems there is a fair amount of explaining to do to Public Safety Canada.
Once I decided that an intervention was essential (just in case we had house guests), I swooped in like a SWAT team … singular SWAT team, mind you. Their room was unrecognizable. Two full days later, I have to say I’m damn proud of myself … their room is now pretty tidy and no property restoration company was involved!
This exercise was not without casualties however. As I cleaned out their room, here is what I found:
18 hockey player figurines
17 plastic mini sticks
16 minature dinosaurs
15 dirty socks (not matched of course)
14 hockey tournament medals
13 hockey pucks
12 Disney pins (still attached to their Disney lanyard)
11 USB sticks (contents unknown)
10 NFL game jerseys
9 bags of paintball balls
6 empty tins of chewing tobacco
5 different school permission forms signed by me
4 letters I’d written to them at camp – unopened
3 fifths of vodka – empty of course
2 poker sets, and
1 clearly used beer funnel
Oh, and I also found roughly ten dollars in coins which I feel I am certainly keeping (I feel I am owed).
So after several bags of garbage and recyclables if I have any advice to give young mothers of boys it is this: don’t wait until they leave for university to clean out their room. And the second piece of advice is: if you think they’ve been doing it themselves all this time, you are as pathetically naïve as I was.
Now as I gaze into a clean and tidy boys room I realize it’s as unrecognizable now as it was when it was a lethal death zone.
Everyone also says boys are easier and I suppose they are … better with personal protective equipment.
This post previous appeared on HockeyNow.ca; you can see the original here.
It’s here already! I can’t believe it! Reunion is this weekend! What should I wear? Should I even bother going? Does my hair look alright? Have I gained any weight since the last reunion? More importantly, have any of my friends gained weight since the last reunion? I wonder if Amanda will be there with a new husband again. What if no one recognizes me? What if no one talks to me? What if I don’t remember anyone’s names?
All this nagging self-doubt is swirling around my head right now as I contemplate my reunion this coming weekend. Is everyone so insecure about reunions this weekend or is it just me?
By “reunion” I mean Arena Reunion – the big party that is house league sort-outs and takes place this weekend
This season, my daughter is playing first year Midget hockey. She and her hockey equipment will convene with about eighty-five other fifteen- to eighteen-year old girls at the Nepean Sportsplex here in Ottawa. Once the inevitable piercing screams and recap of summer adventures of their own Arena Reunions simmer down, eighty-five pinny-sporting girls will forget their summer tan lines and hit the ice. They will all participate in a series of scrimmages intended to evaluate their skill level and ensure that all the house league teams are properly balanced.
My daughter is pretty excited. Our house has been a tornado of activity the last two weeks in getting her two older brothers now retired from minor hockey andoff to university. She was entirely neglected during most of that maelstrom – a position she did not appreciate. Between numerous trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond and Canadian Tire for all the necessities of dorm life, and all the joys that come with student accounts, course choosing and text book shopping, she received uncharacteristically few reminders for her to double check her hockey gear to make sure it all fit. Thankfully, all that she requires is a new hockey stick (which no one thought to pick up on our several trips to Canadian Tire of course) and a pair of socks. She will also now have the undivided attention of both her parents (until Thanksgiving at least) – just the way she wants it!
And I will be amongst friends again. I will reunite with my fellow hockey moms, most of whom I have not seen since my daughter’s season wrapped up last April. I won’t know all eighty-five of these girls or their families but I will know a good number of them and I am looking forward to seeing them at the Arena Reunion. Very soon, I will be getting to know sixteen of them even better – our team for the year. They will be my second family for the next eight months. And I hope I remember their names!
So do you think it’s possible for me to lose ten pounds by Sunday afternoon?
Three cheers for the start of a new season! May your team be balanced and your coffee mug be filled!
Here’s a post I wrote a few years ago about a supposedly fun cottage activity! I still feel the same way!
Last night, my fourteen year-old daughter returned from two weeks at camp. This camp of hers in Algonquin Park is a pretty classic one: no electronics, no electricity in the tents and cabins, and no flush toilets, so the need to catch up on Instagram and Snapchat (and the proper use of a toilet) is almost immediate.
She spent some time regaling us in all her camp fun including descriptions of cabin mates and their personalities, exceptional stories camp activities and sports and then promptly fell into a twelve-hour, post-camp coma which I believe continues to this hour.
She spent the most time very animatedly telling us about the camp theatre production for July, Beauty and the Beast. This is no let’s-look-through-the-dress-up-box-and-see-what-we-can-find camp skit but a well-executed musical with a very talented cast held in a dedicated outdoor theatre. Not that I have actually seen a production, other than a YouTube-posted version, but they’re impressive. (And I was a postulant in a small town amateur production of The Sound of Music thirty-five years ago so I know what I’m talking about!).
As soon as she got home, she and a neighbour wanted to rent the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast (not sure if it was for comparison or to just gloat at Lumiere’s accent) but I told her we already had a copy, and after an impressively short ten minutes of rummaging I returned to the family room and handed them a VHS.
Honestly, from the look on her and her friend’s faces you would think I just handed them the Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle.
“What is that?”
“It’s Beauty and the Beast.”
“What do I do with that?”
“You pop it into the machine and watch it.”
“Yes, the VHS machine.”
“We have one of those?”
“Yes, we do. It’s a DVD/VHS combo.”
So we figured out the right input channel fairly quickly and the image soon appears on the screen.
“Ugh!” she cried, “What’s wrong with it?!”
“Nothing,” I replied. “We just have to rewind it”
“I have to what?!”
At this point, her friend then says, “Y’know, this sounds like a lot of work. I’m going home.”
However, soon enough though, we were fully rewinded and perfectly snuggled on the couch and watching a VHS-version of Disney’s 1991 release of Beauty and the Beast. (Which, by the way, you cannot actually get on iTunes, at least not in Canada.) My nineteen year-old soon joined in on the retro movie night and it was a party.
After the movie was over (and remember, Disney movies are only about an hour long!) I suggested to my son, “I’m sure I can bring out you old favourite from the same VHS box, dear.”
To which he replied, “I better go work on my Me Ol’ Bam-boo dance moves, then.”
All this to say, don’t throw away your old VHS tapes or your machine. You’ll never know when they’ll come in handy for a lesson in retro movie watching.
Next up on the marquee: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
It’s Friday night and I’m at the hockey arena. It’s no big deal. Since becoming a hockey mom fourteen years ago, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to a hockey arena on a Friday night! What can I say? I have an impressive social life.
Only this time, I’m not here with one of my three kids; I’m here with one of my friend’s kids. Again, because of my impressive social life, I need to be at a hockey arena on a Friday evening.
This boy’s parents, our friends and neighbours, are off to a family wedding at an adults-only resort in the Dominican Republic and being fourteen, he’s too young to join them. I think he could have passed for an eighteen year old, but whatever. I don’t even think there was a wedding, but whatever.
Thursday evening, my friend drops off her son for his 10-day retreat Chez Astra with $50 and a list of his weekly activities. I tell her “Hey, not to be rude or anything, but I don’t think this is going to cover my weekly LCBO purchases” and she doesn’t think this is funny.*
At first it looks like I might get out of the Friday night hockey carpool gig because I have company coming to visit . Then my guests decline and I mention this at dinner Thursday evening.
“Oh! So you can take me to hockey then?”
Quick. Think of something.
Only nothing comes to mind, and I concede: looks like I’m spending Friday night at the hockey arena.
After a 30-minute drive during which any question I asked was responded by him pulling his ear plug out and asking, “Excuse me?” I should know better; I drop all efforts to converse. I leave him at the front door of the arena and tell him, “I have a few errands to run (like running to the LCBO) but I’ll be here to watch the last twenty minutes” and off he goes.
This hockey arena has four ice pads and I forgot to ask him which surface he was playing on. I quickly size up the place: Pad 1 has girls on it – moving on. Pad 2 has little tykes on I,t so I move on again. Pads 3 and 4 both look like they’re hosting groups of 14 year olds. I spend a few minutes checking out the teams on Pad 3 but I don’t see our underage, unemployed free loader. I move over to Pad 4 and see him chasing the puck down the ice.
I flash my best fake yeah-thumbs-up in his general direction, mostly because I sure as hell don’t want to have spent a Friday night at the hockey arena without him noticing my efforts! The game appears to end in a 2-2 tie, and I retreat to the foyer to await his return from the dressing room. I then run into another hockey mom I know from my daughter’s hockey team last season. After some chit-chat, she asks what team Emily is playing on tonight – because it would be normal for me to be here with my own child. I tell her that I’m here with a friend’s son and am just waiting for him to change, gesturing in the direction of Pad 4.
All of a sudden, my friend’s son comes up behind me and says, “Hey, I’m ready to go!” I wheel around and ask, “Where did you come from?” “My game. Over there” gesturing to Pad 3.
“You weren’t playing on Pad 4?”
“Oh. I see. So. You were not the one I gave a thumbs up to?”
Thank God I didn’t bang on the glass.
“Did you even watch my game?”
“No. I was watching the game on pad 4.”
“Who was playing on Pad 4” he asks, and it’s not a bad question.
“I thought you were.”
So, not only did I take a child not my own to a hockey game, I watch almost an entire game of complete strangers. Loserdom has my name on it.
“Let’s keep this between the two of us, okay?” I implore to him.
“Sure” he says. “Just like you’re going to keep the two chocolate bars before dinner between the two of us too, right?”
It’s a deal.
*Truth be told, she also dropped off all his lunches, and two or three meals for our entire family (which had just grown to six people) but whatever – it’s my story.
I hate being asked “what’s for dinner?” almost as much as I hate being asked,”where do babies come from?” I have a solution for the first question (sorry, there’s no solution for the second question).
Check out my latest Hockey Mom Mondays post at HockeyNow. http://hockeynow.ca/blog/mom-mondays-compliments-to-the-chef-chef-hockey-mom-that-is-
A video I saw recently on Facebook called, “Sh%t Southern Woman Say”, filled with bless-her-heart after bless-her-heart, had me thinking of all the Canadian colloquialisms I use (bless my heart). I thought of making a really excellent video called “Sh%t Canadian Women Say” that I’m sure would go viral, but let’s just say I prefer the modest medium of writing medium to – you know – filming myself!
Without even mentioning any proclivity to anything hockey, you know you’re a Canadian when –
- There’s more to a case of beer than the beer! I swear to God a good part of my husband’s wardrobe came with a case of beer – or rather a 2-4. His nieces refer to him as that uncle. And speaking of beer, when someone tells me the beer store is kitty-corner from the liquor store, I know exactly where that liquor store is. (Though I honestly cannot remember the last time I had to ask anyone where the liquor store was!)
- Canadianisms in gastronomy are pretty universal now thanks to the internet. But I do think finding a proper poutine, tourtière, beavertails, Lay’s ketchup chips, Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, and Kraft Dinner (or KD) outside our borders is not an easy achievement.
- Tim Horton’s coffee shops have their own lexicon entirely. You simply don’t live in this country if you don’t know what a double-double is. And of course this time of year with their Rrrrroll up the Rrrrrim to win campaign, dumpster-diving takes on entirely new meaning – for that’s what you do when you realize you’ve thrown out your Timmie’s without Rrrrolling up the Rrrrim to check out your prize (which is usually a message of pure hope: Please Play Again)!
- It’s funny enough that the Canadian one dollar coin is called a loonie (because most in circulation have the common loon on them) but what gives with calling the two dollar coin a toonie (that’s right – it’s spelled toonie not twonie)? Most toonies have a picture of a polar bear on them (because while there might be real loons around Canada, the toon is rather rare and endangered, I guess). Are we that lazy? Could we not have called it the polar coin? “Got any polar bears on ya?”
- When I was a teenager I never snuck a fifth of rum into a hockey game. Never! Now a mickey of rum? That’s a different story! (I just don’t remember it.)
- And when we got married, our friends planned my husband’s ‘stag’ and my ‘doe’ – not our bachelor and bachelorette parties. CBC should consider getting in on this Bachelor TV viewing crowd with a new show. Seriously! Who wouldn’t tune into a show called The Stag! Americans would be buying satellite TV by the millions!
- And I know I said I wouldn’t mention hockey but my kids all knew the local rink rat by his first name. In fact, they knew a few rink rats by their first names!
- And because it’s February, and it’s minus stupid cold outside, and people are making plans for March Break (not ‘spring’ break), here’s one more final iconic Canadian activity: you don’t need to bring your tuque on your trip to Cuba!
Bless your Oh Canada, bless your heart!
My daughter and I were hockey implants this past weekend.
It’s not what you think.
Technically, she was the implant, I was the transplant.
She was invited by another team to a hockey tournament in Jay Peak, Vermont (uh huh, so skiing was also involved too!) as a pick-up player. Several players from a team in her association were unable to attend this tournament so they get to pick up players from another team, hence their invitation to us – I mean, my daughter. It was her job to play hockey for this team; it was my job to get her there (well, my husband’s. Given there was skiing involved, we made this a ski-hockey-waterpark weekend).
It seems a lot of parents of recreational hockey won’t travel to out-of-town tournaments. Cost, time, winter roads, whatever. But out-of-town hockey tournaments is what I love about being a hockey mom (in fact, they may even be why I tolerate minor hockey).
And I’m not the only one. When our hockey years are behind us, I can guarantee you that all three of my kids will look back on their minor hockey careers and the out-of-town tournaments as being the bomb dot com. (I learned that phrase from my daughter and I can’t stop using it.)
Out-of-town hockey tournaments offer an opportunity to play teams from other cities (heck, from other countries, as was the case this past weekend!) and is like a mini-vacation (despite a typically busy game schedule particularly if your team advances beyond round robin play). It offers a brief but reliable antidote to the ho-hum doldrums of the cold, Canadian winter. It offers families the chance to dispense with normal routine of school and work – and to travel and sleep in close quarters (the only form of winter camping I’ll agree to). It offers the potential of a new town or city or food or folklore to explore and who can deny the enriched learning experience kids derive from hotel swimming pools, mini stick hockey in the lobby and terrorizing hotel security guards after quiet hour (despite me having signed numerous waivers over the years promising precisely not to do so!)??
Some of the teams my kids have been on have had six tournaments a season (when playing competitive hockey) and some of our teams have only been to two. Regardless of the number or the timing (except for maybe The Great Hockey Weekend of 2012, which we do not speak of in our household), I will never vote down a hockey tournament weekend.
I like hockey tournaments. I know my kids love hockey tournaments.
I liked being a hockey implant and I’m certain my daughter enjoyed being a hockey implant too.
And I think we make the perkiest of hockey implants out there!