Much like I couldn’t be a Goalie Mom, I couldn’t be a hockey coach. It has to be one of the most brutal things to volunteer for. I have patience, but there is a certain love for the game and drive to teach that coaches have (or should have) that I don’t possess. Also, the ability to skate would help. I should probably start there.
I love the game because I love watching my boys do something they love. For that I have an infinite amount of patience. As for the teaching…well I would need someone to teach me the finer points of hockey first. Like what exactly is offside. In general, I can make that call, but it’s mostly because I know if I have to ask what happened, the answer will be offside. Some day I’ll learn.
We have been so very lucky to have wonderful novice coaches. They have a sense of humour and they don’t judge me for my often hot-mess-status. Or if they do judge, they hide it well. And Boy #1 fell in love with the sport because of them.
Our IP hockey coaches mostly just have their hands full picking kids up off the ice. Again, I couldn’t do that job either. Do you know that Boy #3 spent the better part of four weeks worth of hockey practice standing at the boards crying at me? Like big fat tears and snot rivers crying. It might have been longer than four weeks. I know it felt like forever.
Between me hiding and his coaches teasing him to skate, we worked through it. But I couldn’t have done it without them. They worked with him even when he was lying on the ice, in the throws of a tantrum. They would get him up to skate. At the end of the practice at least one of them would come by and remind me that I’m doing the right thing by pushing him out on to the ice. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it through the big-fat-tears-and-snot-rivers portion of our hockey season.
And here’s the truth, there would be no hockey without coaches. They are the teachers, the motivators, the strategists of a team. They work so hard to bring out the very best in their players. I have watched from the stands for three seasons now. It was the hockey coach teaching my youngest two how to get up on their skates in all that gear. I have watched Boy #1 be yelled at, teased and chased into skating to his full potential.
I have watched as Boy #1 skated up to his coaches after his first ever assist so that they all could celebrate. And they all celebrated.
I may have watched that one through tears. There are some things that just hit you in the feels. That was one of them.
Here’s my point, like many parts of raising kids, coaching has the tendency to be both the most rewarding and the most thankless job. What I want all the coaches to hear is this: This hockey mom sees you. And she appreciates every yell, cheer and minute you invest in her child. He might one day forget the moment, but I’ll make it my job to remind him.
So thank you to each and every hockey coach out there for all the time you put into these kids. It does not go unnoticed.
See you at the rink.