Monday, May 16, 2011

Confessions of a Hockey Mom

"You miss 100% of the shots you never take."
- Wayne Gretzky

It may be Spring but hockey is a big part of my life as a Canadian mother of three boys and if you think it ends when winter does...think again! the NHL playoffs are still in full force and my 9 yr. old son Julian is on a tournament team and will begin training soon for the upcoming season.

I recently wrote a feature article in a great, National Canadian Family Magazine called "What's Up" and would like to share it with you all here.

And now the link no longer works, so I am inserting the article in full here now! Enjoy!


Confessions of a Hockey Mom

By Lora Rossi
(Printed in What's UP Families Magazine, February, 2010)

My hockey stars: Noah, 7 and Julian, 9.

It’s 6:37am on a cold, November Saturday morning and while most are snug in their beds, I am deeply preoccupied. I have to get my six year old son to the rink by 7:00am and I can’t find his neck guard. And I am not sure which rink his game is at. And I am still in the wrinkled track pants and t-shirt I wore to bed - and they aren’t coming off any time soon.
More importantly, this also has the domino effect of my now not having enough time to make the all important stop at Tim Horton’s for my large double double. Horror! I’ll have to settle for the much less satisfying “ice rink blend” instead.
And so my weekend begins…
My name is Lora and I am a Hockey Mom.
Sometimes I wonder how I got here…immersed so utterly and completely in this role that once had me observing those from afar saying “that will never be me.” I mean, I grew up dancing, playing the piano and acting in plays. Those mad women I witnessed at my brother’s games screaming in the stands had me rolling my eyes.
Then I had a little boy. Then I had another. Then I had a reality check.
My husband, Rob, is a huge hockey fan and well, you know what they say about apples and trees.  (And this is where I must add a brief disclaimer about girls and hockey. Both of my sons have girls on their team and they are awesome. So if you have a daughter, don’t think you are immune!)
My oldest son Julian is now nine years old and plays defense for a competitive hockey team at the “AA” level. For those of you not familiar with what that means, in short it translates into “lots of money and lots of time at lots of different hockey rinks.”
Julian played house league hockey for a couple of years and that was manageable. Competitive hockey, on the other hand,  is for crazy people. And unfortunately, it is designed for people who work to be able to afford it…and who have lots of free time in order to get their kids to all the games, practices and tournaments, which if you are working a 9 - 5 job is next to impossible.
But this is Canada people, and we take our hockey pretty seriously. And they start ‘em young. And parents have to be prepared.

This is a major commitment involving signed contracts. Tardiness is not tolerated. You miss practice you lose ice time. You must participate in fundraising and team events (so if you need any meat or wrapping paper, let me know!) Travel for tournaments is regular and costly. You pay for two team jerseys,  socks, hockey pants, gloves, helmet, tracksuit, turtlenecks, cap,  toque,  hoodie, winter jacket, spring jacket…well….you get the point. You join a rep hockey team, you get a new wardrobe.
 Thanks Mom and Dad!
Now that my six year old Noah has started house league hockey, the “divide and conquer” approach has come into play. The entire weekend is a veritable mish-mash of games, practices, smelly change rooms and trips home to shower. It is a strategic game in and of itself!
Plans are made around the family hockey schedule (did I mention that Rob plays every weekend as well?) The previously mentioned neck guard incident did not involve my husband because he was in Sudbury at one of Julian’s many tournaments. A regular weekend involves 4 - 6 trips to different ice rinks and a family meeting to figure out who is going to go where with whom. Grandparents get involved. It’s exhausting.
But here’s the thing that caught me by surprise. I love it.
I hate to miss their games and I have stopped taking reading material to their practices because I know my eyes will be on the ice to entire time. To know my boys are doing something they truly enjoy, are being active and are improving with each week is a great feeling as a parent. They are learning important lessons about what it means to be a part of a team, sportsmanship, and are making great friends in the process. And the fact that it is a passion they share and enjoy - both playing and watching - with their Dad is great to watch as well.
Just over a month ago we welcomed our third son Drew (yes, a hat trick!) and he is already a rink rat. His naps are often interrupted by the sounds of mini-stick hockey games coming from the family room. His brothers are asking when they can start to teach him how to skate.
Inevitably, he will also most likely play hockey.  And sure, the bags under my eyes will certainly be big enough to carry his equipment. But I will be cheering - ok - screaming…in the stands. And this Mom couldn’t be happier.
Do you have any Hockey Mom confessions? What about other sports? What do you love and dislike about kids and competitive team sports? I invite you all to leave comments both here on my blog, and on the magazine's website.

Please note that I am in the midst of starting a The Hugging Home twitter account and facebook page. Details to follow.

The more we are connected, the more interactive we can be and the more we will all learn from each other.

Short one for today, but Monday mornings are crazy and there is lots to do around my home!



Suggested Reading

Oh Boy!
For Crying Out Loud! (Coping With Colic, by Lora Rossi - What's Up Magazine, June, 2011)

1 comment:

  1. Great article Lora. I can really relate to this. My son is also in hockey and it's a lot! That is great that you support your boys so much. My son is not in competitive hockey and probably won't some must be really good to be in AA at his age! And you have a third son? Wow! Good luck! Based on what I have read in this blog you seem extremely creative. Do your boys share this trait as well? Will you be writing more for this magazine? I like the publication...thinking of subscribing. Kelly Gold