Believe it or not, we’re ramping up to a new hockey season. This weekend marks the official return to the rink. I have two boys on the ice, one hour each both Saturday and Sunday for a total of four hours. Other than a few weeks of hockey camp, we have been away from hockey since mid April. And we needed the break, badly.
You see, last season ran about as long as it could get. Boy #1’s team made it to the finals, so we were in that to the bitter end. There are some seasons that seem to pass in a blink and some summers that are never long enough. That was not this year. I never thought I would say it, but I missed the hockey rink.
- My boys are climbing the walls. Thankfully school is back, so that bit of routine has returned. But thanks to a very wet, cool summer, they haven’t been outside nearly enough. There is only so much they can do to expend energy in the house. Hockey gets them out and moving for a minimum of one hour on the weekend. Usually two. It barely makes a dent, but it does make a dent. I’ll take what I can get at this point.
- Hockey Mom friends. There are people that I haven’t seen in a while that I enjoy spending time with. And boy do I spend a lot of time with them come hockey season. These are the ones that make the freezing hours at the rink enjoyable.
- Summer was a bust. Like two surgeries and constant rain kind of bust. I would like to put that behind me. Quickly and thoroughly.
- There is little I enjoy more than watching my boys do something they love. And they love hockey. In particular, I’m eager to see what Boy #2 thinks of Novice hockey after three years of Initiation. After every season he says he doesn’t want to play hockey the next season. And every year he changes his mind come registration time. I see this year as a deciding year for him. I’m excited to see what he decides.
- Endless excuse to drink copious amounts of hot beverages. Y’all know how I feel about my caffeine.
- There’s a certain level of challenge to getting through hockey season with three kids. It appeals to my inner geek and the desire to organize all the things. I might be a little off in the head for this one, but it makes me happy.
- As much as I love my children, I know that there is a huge value in having other adults, who are not related to them, take an interest in them. Coaches are wonderful mentors and role models for young athletes. This is not to say that they can’t find these role models elsewhere (hello every teacher I’ve ever met) but there’s something about someone pushing them to be their best, to contribute to a team. It rounds out their circle.
- There are lessons to be learned that team sports teaches them. Working as a team, developing a skill. They learn about winning and losing. About resilience. Where summer is about learning to take life as it comes, winter is about life skills and pushing through when things aren’t easy.
- They eat better. Exercise begets appetite. And appetite means that things taste better. Which means fewer arguments about what I’m putting on the plate in front of them. Notice I said fewer, not zero. My boys have HockeyDad’s metabolism, so I’m constantly fighting to get them to eat more. THey aren’t massive eaters during meal times. Hockey helps me achieve this. During hockey season, they are hungrier. Of course, depending on the schedule, we have to resort to snacks rather than full meals. And occasionally I wonder if they will ever be full. But thankfully, they eat.
- It gives us all some much needed structure. As much as the hockey schedule is all over the map and we are driving all over the place, in the winter we can count on two things, it will be cold and we will be at the rink at some point during the weekend.
So as of Saturday, it’s back to the rink. Back to the routine, as it were. By the time I get through Christmas, I will likely need to revisit this list. This year presents a new challenge. Where last year I had two boys playing Initiation level hockey, this year I have an Initiation player, a Novice player and an Atom level player. This means more travel. It means negotiating conflicting game schedules. It means unpredictable schedules. In Initiation I know that we have two practices, one Saturday morning and one Sunday afternoon. Things are a lot more fluid in Novice and Atom.
But the fact remains, there’s something about the start of the new hockey season that is so full of promise and beginning. It’s a fresh new start to the year.
And who doesn’t like a fresh new start?
See you at the rink.