As I sat in the stands watching the players go through their drills, I was struck by how much I’d missed our local sports community, as well as hockey and its rituals.
After seven years of driving to and from early morning practices, travelling through blizzards to reach far-off tournaments, and tense hours squished into hard seats, you’d think I might be over the, um, glamour of being a hockey parent. But actually, I’ve found myself more involved in the sport and wondering lately how many more years we have left at the rink.
I watched my not-so-little 12-year-old, and felt rather misty-eyed.
“He’ll be big enough to drive himself here soon!” someone called out from across the cordoned-off stands.
I agreed, and laughed a bit too heartily. Wait, what?
Yup, one day he won’t need his parents for a ride, and will be off on his own. And I’ll miss the dark morning drives when we talk about nothing and everything. Or the head-thumping, heart-pounding music we wail along with on the way to games.
I’ll miss the little rituals that are all my own: savouring a jarringly strong arena coffee early in the morning and trying out all the variations of canteen poutine. Wearing my threadbare Hockey Mom socks at away tournaments, and the nervous pacing I do as the team manager while waiting for the game buzzer to go off.
The cold arenas and too-small seats might make my back sore, but I thrill at watching his confidence, resilience, and skills improve each season. All driven by my son’s love of hockey.