Some of my favorite memories in recent years come from sitting in the stands while my boys are on the ice. I have to admit that the view from the stands is a constant surprise.
From the stands, I saw all three of my boys learn how to skate. I saw them learn to get themselves up off the ice when they fell. The first time they used their sticks to move the puck, I was there. I saw their first game. I’ve watched them fall in love with a game and learn a new skill.
I’ve seen them give hugs and high fives, fist bumps and pats on the backs between shifts. I have watched them dance to music during breaks and skate in circles while waiting for the puck to drop.
From the stands, I’ve watched my boy give a pep talk to the goalie or help someone who fell down on the ice. I’ve watched that boy hand back sticks and gloves to players, both on his team and on the opposing side.
I have watched them make plays that I didn’t think they understood. And I have been there when the play went wrong and they learned something new about hockey.
From the stands, I have watched the first loss, the first win and the first assist. From the stands, I have realized that he’s no longer a four year old who is just learning, but a kid who loves a game.
I have watched them all make star fish on the ice, and I’ve watched them skate with such effortlessness that it staggers me. They have caused me endless hours of anxiety and frustration and happiness at the rink. They have sat on the ice, or stood at the boards and cried in protest against having to play. Again. From the stands they have skated by where I sit and waved, or cheered or laughed.
From the stands, I have consumed endless amounts of caffeine. My voice has gone hoarse from cheering and my hands have gone numb from clapping. I have been so cold that it takes me three hours to thaw out when I get home, and felt so much pride that it brings tears to my eyes.
I have watched coaches teach my kids how to play a sport, how to be a team member. Those same coaches celebrated Boy #1’s first assist as hard as we did. I have watched the trainer like a hawk as they’ve checked out my boy to make sure he’s ok after a hard fall. I’ve waited to catch their eye after their assessment and get the thumbs up.
I’m really lucky it’s always been a thumbs up to this point.
From the stands, I have watched countless plays, penalties and pep talks. I’ve watched inside jokes. I’ve watched my sons inherit new role models to go along with the pretty spectacular ones they already have.
At this point in time, there is nowhere I would rather be than watching from the stands.
See you at the rink,