Growing up I was a girl’s girl. I loved baby dolls, had little tea parties, and played dress up. I loved to dress in dresses, had no interest in sports, except occasionally as a spectator, and even then I didn’t know a touchdown from a free throw. Oh, I pretended I was aware. I used to dutifully go with my friend Janet every spring and try out for girls’ baseball. Never mind the fact that I’ve yet to catch a ball in a glove, or hit one with a bat for that matter.
God has a sense of humor. How do I know this? Well, God gave me boys. I now believe it is genetic to reach for the remote control, the car keys, the baseball, a hockey stick, your brother’s throat. Okay, girls do that last one too! But me, the one who grew up with dolls, dresses and tea parties has spent the last eight years learning an entirely new language. And now, the worst has happened.
I have become a Hockey Mom. I don’t know exactly when the transformation occurred. I do know that when my oldest was turning 5 and started spring soccer I explained to myself that he needed to meet the other children in the neighborhood because he was going to start kindergarten soon and it was a good way to make friends. When he started hockey in the fall, I used much the same logic, making friends, learning to be on a team, good sportsmanship, and fair play. And, of course, I could meet the other parents in the neighborhood in a season that lasts longer than the 2-month mini-soccer season.
It is easy to dismiss the cold reality when your child is under the age of six. Our hockey league doesn’t keep score or use rules for children this young. They all get to play in all positions. The parents are given a bunch of handouts at the first practice and the overwhelming theme is “The sole purpose of hockey for children under the age of six is to learn to skate.” And they look so cute in all that equipment!
But the truth is, I have become a Hockey Mom. I spend my weekends at the arena. I discuss the game of last week/last night/this morning with other parents. I wear buttons on my jacket featuring my two sons that are in hockey in full regalia (minus the helmet and face guard, have to see those cute smiles!). I check our hockey schedule before making other plans. I know the difference between an offside and icing; when it is just falling down and when it is a tripping penalty. And, last night, I cheered myself hoarse while my oldest son’s team won a gold medal.
I still believe that he is in the sport to learn about teamwork and fair play. I have no illusions that hockey is for him anything more than an activity with his friends while growing up. But if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get fitted for my “Hockey Mom” jacket.