As I start my 10th year as a hockey mom, I look back and realize how much my outlook has changed about starting a new season. I’ve gone from Nervous Nellie to Doris Day (yes, I’m old enough to make THOSE references) in a mere decade. My evolution to Zen may have taken longer than most, but still, give me credit for my (Darwinian-like) progress.
In the early years, I remember the stress each new season brought. At try-outs I wondered, will my son be good enough to make the team? Will he get on the “right” team? Where does he “rank” in ability compared to the other players? Will the coaches appreciate his sunny-attitude and cheerful smile, or will a massive, goal-scoring, high flying, puck-hound take his rightful spot? (Who needs goal-scorers when you have a kid who’s happier than a goon in the penalty box?)
To pass the time between try-outs and team announcements, I played virtual-coach, pretending to be the R.C. Buford of the youth hockey world. I'd create mental rosters based on birth year, (perceived) ability, and weigh the likelihood of each possible team/player combination.
“What if I were the coach? Who would I pick?” “What if that kid moves away or moves up?” “What if there aren’t enough kids for two teams.” “What if we play ‘A’? Or worse, what if we don’t?!”
I said what if, what if, what if when I should have said, “WHATEVER.”
Whatever happens, we’ll make it work.
Whatever happens, it will be fun.
Whatever happens, he’ll play hockey and he’ll learn something.
And the truth is, WHATEVER challenges and changes came with each season, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. My kid learned to win with grace, lose with insight, lead with compassion, praise with pride and most importantly, he learned to deal with WHATEVER the season brought his way.
I wish I knew then what I know now. It may have prevented a few worry-lines and some gray hair and maybe, just maybe, I could have focused more on the fun (or should I say, funDING), of the game.
So take it from an old hockey mom – A new season is near, but don’t sweat it. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking...WHATEVER!