What It's All About

My oldest is 8. Like so many other kids his age, he likes hockey. Well, that might not be totally right.

He plays in an organised league.  He plays on the frozen lake at my in-laws. He plays shinny whenever he can. If there are free clinics and we offer to take him, he goes. He plays it on the Xbox. After all that, he still begs to be allowed to stay up and watch one more period of whichever game is on TV.

He doesn't just like hockey; he loves hockey.

As he is getting older, it is more and more apparent to me that he is shy and introverted. When he is in a big group of kids he tends to linger on the periphery and watch, preferring not to draw attention to himself.  He does his best not to stand out.

On the ice, the story changes. He is confident, bold and competitive; he is even a little aggressive.  Hockey gives him a place where he feels comfortable relating to others and his smile while he is on the ice lights up my heart.

Hockey has also been character building. It's taught him that teamwork is essential for success and that you always try to give your best to the team, because if you don't, you're letting others down.  He's learned that practice makes you better but there's always going to be someone better than you, so work hard. It's taught him that the effort you put out is more important than the score; that everyone makes mistakes, and that's ok too.

He's played since he was four years old and if you ask him what is the most important thing to remember, he'll tell you: "Work hard. Have fun."

That's it. 

That's why we pay the fees and invest our time. It's the reason we drive on crappy roads through even crappier weather. It's why my husband stands outside in twenty-five degrees below zero spraying water on snow he's painstakingly packed down. It's why we don't have much of a social life between October and April and why my husband volunteers his time to a team of kids when I'm sure he'd rather just come home after work and put up his feet. Because those four words sum up what's important about hockey and the lessons that will serve these kids well later on in life. 

Work hard. Have fun.

That's what it's about.

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