Hockey. You either love it or you hate it. I never had much exposure to hockey growing up, I just knew that hockey parents are intense, dedicated, indulgent. Watching hockey just seemed cold. Sitting there. Freezing.
So when #2 begged for an entire year to try hockey, I wasn’t too excited. Hockey is expensive. Lots of travel. Expensive. Cold. Huge time commitment. Did I mention expensive? Of course, he instantly fell in love. He eats, sleeps, breathes hockey. He collects cards. He studies stats. He’s happy to share them with anyone in listening range. He’s constantly ranking teams and players. He’s in his 3rd season now and he’s dedicated. Of course! The most expensive, most dedicated sport out there!
I love to complain about hockey. There are at least 3 hrs of practice a week (more if you want), and games. I hate being cold. But here’s a little secret for you: I actually love hockey. I love the sport. I love the passion. I love the dedication. I love the aggression. Yep, I love that there are still sports out there that tap into the primal human. I love that kids, even at the age of 10, are either dedicated to the sport, or they lose interest. It’s all in or out. Maybe the first year you can coerce your kid to play. But after that? No way. They have to be driven. I love that they spend an hour to the minute on the ice, using up every precious second of coveted ice time. I love that they skate non-stop, working skills the entire time. I love that boys that play hockey are tough, and girls who play are super heroes. I love that hockey is bad-ass. I love that it’s an action packed sport with little stopping. This is a serious sport! I love that he picked hockey to be passionate about. I’m sure hockey is one of those sports that can get out of hand. Can teach over-aggression. But I’m thinking it’s going to teach our kid a lot of positive things. He’s not a type of kid who’s overly aggressive, or wild, or a jock even though he loves playing sports. I think hockey’s going to teach him confidence, and assertiveness.
But what moves me the most isn’t hockey per say. It’s that our son has a passion. (Yes, I’m kind of gloating that he picked such a cool sport). Even before I became a parent, I saw all around me kids that have passions. It seemed like all kids have passions. The weirder the more awesome. Every kid is a geek about something, right? Dinosaurs. Soccer. Battleships. Tractors. Heavy Equipment. They grow older and fall into something they are driven at. Then our kids started growing and I was so excited about this! What would they pick!? As years went by, I became a tiny bit saddened and frustrated that none of them picked anything. As little ones, sure, they had phases where they liked John Deere, or kicking a ball. But it never developed into anything. They were somewhat interested in trying sports, they may have had a mediocre interest in it for a while. Then would fade. Nothing really grabbed any one of them. I wasn’t looking for a child prodigy or genius in anything, but hoping for a kid who fell in love with something would be nice (even if it changed over time). Watching #2 this year makes my heart swell. Yes, he’s getting really good, which is fun and makes me proud to see. But this year he’s put his whole heart into it. He studies his team. He listens. He doesn’t get distracted. He loves to practice. He may never be the best guy skating out there but he’s got that drive to be. He has passion and dedication and it’s combining with his growing skill level. It’s a beautiful thing to see in a kid! I’m hopeful that each of our children develop this.
Now, I know I’m not ever going to be a full-blown hockey parent, but I am warming up to the role (I think his other mother is going to be though!) I’m not going to drag the family to every tournament in the middle of winter, across the state to play. I probably won’t invest thousands in his gear. (I’m too cheap for that) I may never own a cow-bell or air-horn. I may never be an “A Team” parent. But I’ll be at all the games I can be, and brag about my hockey guy, and looking forward to when the little boys are old enough to start.