Tag Archives: Hockey Parents

The Clouds

You see some pretty amazing things when you are sitting in your Jeep waiting for your daughter’s hockey practice to finish. Today, I was looking at the clouds while a nice tasty Eyes played in the background on the Grateful Dead channel and of course I started taking some photos. This is the result. What happens tomorrow?? More rain!

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

“What do you think dignity’s all about?’
-Kazuo Ishiguro

“Without dignity, identity is erased.” 
-Laura Hillenbrand

“Nothing is so essential as dignity…Time will reveal who has it and who has it not.” 

-Elizabeth Gilbert

Yesterday marked the end of my journey as a travel hockey parent. For the better part of the last 15 years, I have been traveling to rinks in the Northeast making sure that both of my children made it to practices, games and tournaments. First when they played roller hockey, and then for the last 10 years, it has been solely been for hockey. We started in New York and then spent considerable time in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire I have traveled the many highways and byways of these states at all hours of the day and night to clean rinks, filthy rinks and all rinks in between. All so my kids could play hockey.

And I have loved every minute of it. But, as with everything, you have your good and bad moments. Have there been teams I wish that either my son or daughter hadn’t played on? Of course. Have some coaches been either to overbearing or lenient? Of course. Overall, however, they have benefited from the teamwork and camaraderie that comes with playing a team sport like hockey and they have made what I would hope to be life long friends in the process.

Of course as you read this you are probably wondering to yourself, “It can’t all be good, can it?” And with that I answer with a resounding, “NO!”

Over the years my kids have encountered teams, parents and coaches who, quite frankly, are a disgrace to the sport. You know who they are, the ones who are abusive in one way or another and who truly shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a hockey rink, let alone children. But there they are. Parents who laugh as a player lays injured on the ice. The same parents saying that opposing players are “faking” injuries, even as they lay crying because they were cross checked into the boards. Coaches who encourage their players to “take out” opposing players.

This weekend, probably the last one of my daughters hockey career, should have been one that she would remember for the rest of their lives. It will be, but for the wrong reasons.

My daughters team played a game on Saturday night in our end of the year competition against a very competitive team. On its face, the game would have been a good one no matter who won. On paper, they were equally matched and the girls felt they could do well. As the game progressed (and we were winning). the opposing team felt it necessary to start with the elbows to the head, tripping, slashing and boarding. For some reason the referees missed a majority of the infractions. The end result? We won the game.

As luck would have it, we ended up playing the same team the very next day in the championship game of the tournament. From the start the opposing team engaged in the same behavior as the day before. Several times our players were injured by members of the other team. On two occasions, as they lay on the ice, parents in the stands and the team itself were laughing as our player cried in pain after being cross checked into the boards and after being up ended in the middle of the ice. The most disgusting part of this display was the fact that the coach, the leader of the team, did nothing to stop the laughing.

In the end, we lost the game. And that’s ok. Although it would have been nice to win, I would have been embarrassed if our girls had lowered themselves and played at the level that this team decided to play at because they wanted to win.

I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again. The fact that the team plays in a way that can lead to serious injury says everything about the coaches and the parents. It sickens me that anyone would condone this type of behavior. If you aren’t telling them to stop, then you are part of the problem. And for what? A trophy?

Here’s the point to my story. As the medals were being handed out, one of our players who had been targeted by the other team the entire game both verbally and physically did something that showed the class of our team. She could have just taken her medal and gotten back on line with our girls. But no, she skated by the opposing team and offered her congratulations. No mean words, no punches, slashes or boarding. Just “congratulations.”

To me this erased the bad feelings I had about the loss. Our girls came away with something much more important than a championship and a trophy.

They came away with their dignity.

 

 

It’s Hockey Time!

From October through the end of March every year, my life is practically consumed by the sport of hockey. Either watching it on television or traveling to see my kids play, it has been my life for the better part of the last sixteen years. When my son played, I had to shuttle between he and my daughter teams for practices, games and tournaments. Now that he is in college, I have felt like I have been on “Hockey Parent” vacation for the last several years!

Below you will see two pictures of my daughter playing hockey on her travel team (she is on the left in both pictures). Although checking is not allowed in women’s hockey, don’t let anyone tell you that these hockey players are not as aggressive as the boys. They fight just as hard for the puck, throw elbows and will scrap with their opponents if they have to.

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My daughter against Ridgefield 11/18/17.

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Hockey, Hockey Parents, Their Kids and Keeping Calm

“Do not let let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”

-Dalai Lama

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

-Buddha

Like a friend of mine who introduced me to the fine art of blogging (my blogging mentor if I may be so bold), she at first intended her blog to be solely about teaching. Mine was supposed to only be about hiking and the joy that it brings me. However, like her, I have found that there are many other directions that you can take and things that you can do that will still bring you to the destination that you originally intended to go to.

For the massive audience of six or seven people that follow my blog and the one or two others who might read it after haphazardly stumbling upon it, you might have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for over a month. The reason? I am a hockey parent. I have been for 14 years now. First for my son, who started playing roller hockey at the age of six in the spring, summer and fall for many years before transitioning to the ice. As he grew older and the level of competition got more, well, competitive, I found myself having a more difficult time staying calm during games.

It is always easier to find fault in everything that the referees and coaches do when you are sitting in the stands.

As many of you may know, it’s never the kids on either of the teams that  cause any of the problems, it is always the adults. You see, my son was a goalie. If you follow hockey,  you know that if your team wins, the goalie is a hero. If not, well that’s a whole other story. I have to admit that there were time early on (and later)  when I lost my shit after listening to adults make nasty comments about my son and daughter. I will further admit that a couple of these prized interactions almost led to physical altercations.

 

 

I did have several years where both of my kids played at the same time but on different teams. I then had to contend with two sets of parents. I finally had to make a decision. Knowing that I couldn’t possible take on every parent who acted like a moron, I had to find a way to shield myself from the idiocy. As I reflected on the years that I had been watching my kids play, the one thing that I never really saw was how happy they were when they were playing. My son was even nicknamed “The Jolly Goaltender” because he always had a smile on his face. My daughter,  who is also pretty jovial when she is on the ice, is out there having fun and never complaining.

So what I did was this: I decided that I would concentrate on them and not on the parents. I began bringing my ipod to each of the games and literally tuned out the comments from the babbling birdbrains (thank you Dr. Smith!). I also now stay far away from all of the blithering boobies that can’t seem to ever shut up (thanks again to the good Doctor!) and doing this has certainly increased my level of enjoyment of the game.
With all of that said, please allow me to bring this full circle. As with my friend, I fully intended on writing about just hiking. As I move through life however, I keep finding more and more things that when I reflect on them, help to create a more peaceful existence for me and hopefully my family.

So what does this have to do with Zen? Watching my kids play hockey throughout the years and seeing how happy they are when they are on the ice provides me with a sense of peace that I don’t think I could have achieved anywhere else. I can’t even guess at how many positive benefits they have received over the years. Watching my kids and not reacting to everything that happens in a game has not only made me a better person, but it has also given my children something to think about when they have children of their own.

So does every blog entry have to be about hiking? I don’t think so. I think that it might be more beneficial to write about all of the things in our lives that promote our inner peace and contribute to our well being.

 

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