An Apology to Hockey and a Thank You to Sports
“CHANGE IS THE END RESULT OF ALL TRUE LEARNING.” ―LEO BUSCAGLIA The article is written by Audrey - Team Member at WP Creations Head Office.
Growing up, I was a ballet dancer for 12 years. All the way to high school, and then again for fun every now and again during university. I loved taking dance, and sure I liked the physical aspect of it and the way it made my body feel, but more than that, I loved being a part of a circle. A community. It was never meant to go anywhere in terms of life goals, but it was amazing for what it was. Some of my best childhood memories are of my years dancing. The smell of brand new ballet shoes, and the look of ratty old ones. The feel of brand new pink tights fitting perfectly on my legs, and months down the road the loosey-goosey tights that had the imprints of my knees on what became pale pink tights with a lovely hint of grey around the feet. I loved the smell of the studio, the feel of the wood on the floor and the lifelong friendships built. I loved the exciting year-end recitals, putting a cherry on top of a year well done. I even loved the ballet exams because it meant I got to leave school in the middle of the day! Ballet was something I understood. It was as natural as breathing.
Ballet at the Barre
Dancing was the only physical activity I did as a kid. I was never into sports and I didn't understand them nor did I care to understand them. I had no interest, even gym class was a struggle.
I understand that not everyone loves sports. Of course not, that would be silly. There are millions of things to do on this fine planet, and a sport is just one. However, as I have come to learn in my wiser years, I missed out on certain things because I never cared enough to give it a chance. In fact, not only did I not give sports a chance, but I turned my nose up at it. In hindsight, I realize it was out of fear. I was a small kid and had a fear of overpowering physicality and a fear of getting hurt. I was also afraid of being picked last on a team, and because I didn't understand the rules to any of the games, I feared I wouldn't be able to keep up. And so, I decided not to care.
Despite the fact that my father was a track runner and soccer player, my boyfriend (now husband) a football and soccer player, I still couldn't get there.
And then, kids. As we know, kids have a funny way of forcing you to see the world in a completely new way. They make you open your eyes and whether you like it or not, take an interest in things they like, which ironically does become a genuine interest.
My oldest son is a hockey player. He started playing when he was 5, just after moving to Sault Ste Marie, one of the many towns in Canada where hockey is life.
Both my husband and I were immersed in the world of hockey, very quickly as it is pretty hard to avoid, however, he wanted to play, so we supported him. Naturally, I hated it. It was cold, I couldn't figure out what equipment to put on what body part, I didn't understand the game, I couldn't stand the sound of the cowbells that people rang in my ears during games, the sound of the uber excited grandparents, whose main goal in life was to get their grandkid to the NHL yelling from the stands, the early morning practices, driving to the rink in the dark, going back home in the dark, driving through blizzards, the money spent, the crowds of people who actually did know what they were doing. I was intimidated. My husband works incredibly hard and incredibly long hours, and of course, he was always there when he could be, but there were many occasions when it was just me and the kids, which didn't help the initial situation.
The turning point for me really was during his first season of hockey. One of the players got slightly injured and lay resting on the ice for a moment, at which time every single player on the ice bent down on one knee. I had never seen anything like that before. I had never seen a group of kids know exactly what to do, and when, without being prompted. Once the kid was helped up, every single kid started banging their sticks on the ice and slamming the side boards. The cheering came from all corners of the arena, and both sides of scoreboard. It was a way to show support and celebrate their hockey mate, as if to say no matter what, we got you. We are a family. That was the day I at my slice of humble pie.
He is now 10 years old and has been playing for 5 seasons and I have grown to absolutely adore hockey. I am excited to watch him play, to see the difference in his skill level, his technique, and his improvements as a defensive player. I love early morning games, Tim Horton's cup in hand. I love seeing the familiar faces from one year to the next, and families get to know families, strangers become friends. I love the cold bleachers and the sound of the buzzer. I love to hear blades scraping the ice. I don't even mind blizzarding snow because it makes going home to our warm house, that much sweeter. I love that he is able to now dress on his own but also that I can finally tighten his skates the way he needs. I love games, and friendly competition, the friendships, the hockey family and the team spirit. I love the crazy grandparents who yell from the stands, in fact, I have on occasion yelled with them. I even love those cowbells. I have two of my own!
A Cowbell and a Tim Horton's Coffee Is Hockey Mom Prep
We have since moved back to Southern Ontario and my son has made his first REP hockey team this year. We are preparing for hockey on a whole other level. I never thought I would be in this place, but I am so glad I am. I recognize how fortunate we are, that we have had positive experiences up until now, that we are not struggling financially and are able to have our son participate. We realize that it is not this way for everyone and it may not always be this way for us. But for now, while we can, we will. And we are grateful.
The lessons learned through hockey, and as I've come to learn any and all sports, are invaluable. The memories I have of dance, are the ones my son will have of hockey. I am so honoured and so humbled to finally be a part of it. Thank you to hockey. And I'm sorry, I didn't get it.
Sister Is Up Next!