Dear Initiation Hockey Coach,
Hang on to your hats, you’ve got my Tasmanian Devil on your hands. This kid has been in hockey rinks every weekend since he was 2. Of the three of them, he has had the most exposure to hockey and I can see the difference between him and his brothers when it comes to instincts for the game. He was really pissed when we put him in Canskate for a year and didn’t hand him a stick. Putting on skates has always meant that there was a hockey stick to go with it. Boy #3 has a mind of his own. And he really doesn’t care for following the rules right now. He wants what he wants and he wants it now.
And boy, do we hear about it when we tell him that the world doesn’t work that way. To be fair, he’s had to learn to compromise with the brothers a lot. And when I say compromise, I mean that he has to follow their lead a lot or they won’t let him play. It’s not easy being the youngest. He just wants to keep up with the brothers.
The world is not set up for him to do what the brothers are doing the very minute they are doing it. Either because of his age, or his height, there are things that they do, that he wants to do but can’t (fair rides come to mind). Unfortunately for him, as the youngest of three, he is always chasing after what the brothers have done before him. Which means he will always be the “last one”. He hasn’t yet figured out that I hold on to those “lasts” just as tightly as I hold on to the firsts.
Speaking of, you are our fourth initiation hockey coach. There will be five in total before all is said and done with IP hockey. I’m not going to sugar coat it, we don’t expect much other than he have fun. That’s the whole point of the Initiation program, isn’t it? And in year two of three, it might be hard to keep their attention.
Lucky for you, I can help with that. Here’s what you need to know about Boy #3
- He is a happy kid. Until he isn’t. Confused? Here’s what I mean: 99% of the people comment about how happy Boy #3 is. He has a smile on his face, or he’s joking around or being silly. But if he ever decides he’s done with hockey for the year (last year it happened just after Christmas), he will stand at the door to the rink, where I put him, and cry. He is not hurt. He is mad. You can try to engage him and distract him, or you can ignore the foolishness. It’s really up to you and neither reaction will deter me from putting his fully equipped butt on the ice to stand there and cry at me. This isn’t my first rodeo and he doesn’t remember the 4 years his older brother stood at the window of the daycare crying at me. I’m pretty tough these days. Or at least I can pretend to be for the hour he’s on the ice.
- He will likely ask at least once every practice to go pee. He may or may not actually have to go. But I’m not willing to risk peed on hockey gear, so I will take him. Every time. He knows this and he will use it to his advantage.
- All of our Saturday morning practices are early mornings. There is a very good chance Boy #3 will show up in his pjs. At that hour of the morning, I’m not up for a fight and would rather spend my efforts making coffee. #pickyourbattles
- As the third boy in the house, he’s basically indestructible. I’ve seen this kid bounce back from things that would have put his oldest brother on the floor. So if he falls and stays down, it’s worthy of attention and possibly some TLC. Just get him off the ice and I can take care of it from there. Oh, and just because there have been two before him, don’t think I wont be standing right at the boards if he does get hurt. He shakes it off. I do not.
- Here’s the thing about Boy #3, he had to wait that little bit longer for everything. I tried to balance the demands of all three kids and not answer one first more than the other, but with three kids in the house it’s more of a triage situation. So who’s need is more urgent. So he got really good at waiting for me to finish up with whatever the latest crisis was. He’s independent when he needs to be. And if he gets tired of waiting, he’ll figure out how to get what he needs.
He is all of my last-firsts. I am holding on to his childhood as hard as I can without permanently scarring him. So I’ll help him with stuff that I know he can do. I will carry his equipment a little longer. I do my best not to hover, but sometimes I forget. It’s perfectly fine for you to remind me that he needs to learn to stand on his own two feet. You are his second initiation hockey coach, you can push him, and me, just that little bit outside of our comfort zone. It’s ok. It’s time.
Have a wonderful season.
I’ll see you at the rink.