Many things signify the end of the minor hockey season but perhaps none more than the return of the game jerseys to the appropriate team official. This final act of returning goods on loan truly says, “This is it. We’re done with these jerseys, this team and this season.” To some hockey parents I’ve met along the way it also says, “This is it; we’re done with this sport!”
Many a riveting Friday evening have been spent involved somehow with hockey and last Friday was still no different as I tracked down my seam ripper (aka, a hockey mom’s best friend) and gently – occasionally not so gently – extricated our family name off the back of six game jerseys: two Romans jerseys, two Osgoode-Rideau jerseys and two Nepean Wildcat jerseys. While a little sad for sure, it’s also a very restorative activity. It signifies that I have indeed survived yet another minor hockey season and I am returning my banners of pride and joy. The name bars zip off thread by thread, black thread from Visitors jerseys and white threads from Home jerseys. Was it not just last week that I sat in the family room watching the tail end of the MLB season or yet another episode of Mythbusters or the Suite Life of Cody and Zach with one of my kids while meticulously sewing on all six name bars? Sidebar: Curses on the child who came back week later and said “I switched my jerseys!”
I’ve begun to wonder why I put them on the first place. Everyone knows my kids by now – they are the goalies, for crying out loud, right there between the pipes! It’s not like I have to answer the inevitable first question of the season from any another parent, “what number is yours’?” I just have to point to our end zone: right there – guarding the crease. Always either number 31 or number 1. Another sidebar: I have secretly loved saying, “I’m Number 1” when with the team in a restaurant and the server asks the jersey number. “Of course you are”, is usually the answer, like she’s never heard that one before.
So this past Friday evening, as I am guiding my seam ripper through the second number 31, I notice a straight pin, a lone reminder of the season’s beginning and sewing on the name bars in the first place. I must have forgotten to remove this one. One of my poor kids went through the entire hockey season with a straight pin in his back! This lone pin serves as a sad reminder that clearly I did not wash this jersey all season as that would not have survived a washing! This lone pin makes me afraid to ask if he ever felt a little, slightly painful jab at any point during any game. This lone pin may have distorted his save percentage! This lone pin (given where it’s been) could have been the source of some horrible staph infection. Or maybe, like the Princess and the Pea, this lone pin strategy will be my quiet but persistent test of sensitivity for years to come!
On my kitchen counter now lay six name bars and on my kitchen floor now lay six game jerseys… six game jerseys which now must be transported to the washing machine. Six game jerseys that now barely fit in the washer – they’re growing up so fast! Long gone are the days when I could fit all game jerseys, all practice jerseys, all socks and underarmour in the washer at the same time. The stench is over powering so this procedure must take place quickly and I waste no time reminiscing. Open the machine door, throw them in, pour in the soap, close that door, push those buttons, and get the hell out of there!
The season is finally over!
Time to go pick up the spring hockey jerseys…