There was a time, not so long ago where I was thrilled to be done with hockey season. No more driving to rinks on weekends. No more rushing out the door first thing on a Saturday morning.
No more tying skates until my hands cramped. Or freezing my butt off in the rink watching yet another practice.
Come April, I am ready for a change. We’ve discussed it at length here.
But then it actually comes. The Off Season.
Over the past four years, I have learned that there are 5 distinct stages of off season, each with it’s own gifts and curses.
You’ve survived. The season is over and everyone came out of it in one piece. Sure, you might all be a little emotionally wrung out. Playoffs get to the best of us. So you sleep in later than you have in months. You wander through your house discovering things that you had forgotten about. Things like the fact that you have too many things. This immediately sends you into a frenzy where you organize your entire house. Because hey, now you have the time.
We’ve mentioned this before here at the HockeyMom Chronicles. A week or two after the end of the season, you find yourself emerging from your organizing binge and missing the rink. Or maybe a better description is missing your friends from the rink. Regardless, the weekend spreads before you with no schedule, no list, no direction to the entire two days. You’ve entered lawless territory. A forgotten frontier. And you have no idea what to do with all your time. Now there are some parents that avoid this stage by jumping right into baseball or soccer. I am not one of those parents. I ride out the ennui because I know what’s on the other side.
The summer is short. Hockey registration in our area opens at the end of June which is the kick in the pants that knocks me out of Ennui and into summer mode. School is done, there are no lunches to pack (can I get an Amen?) and you shift gears. You sleep in. You remember all the things that you used to enjoy doing and you actually do them. You squeeze every bit of sunshine and relaxation you can get out of summer because it’s only going to last a few short weeks. You seize that summer day and every one that comes after it.
Crap. One look at the calendar and you realize that you need to get your ish in gear. Specifically, hockey gear. One kid likely has outgrown their equipment and at least one other piece of another’s gear needs replacing. I’m talking to you parents with more than one kid, though outgrown gear is universal to childhood sports. You realize that you never did get around to sharpening those skates for summer hockey camp (or you did and need to do it again before the season starts up). You sign the kids up for “conditioning camp” or sessions because there’s a good chance it’s been more than a minute since they were on their skates. And you start the hunt for the water bottles and sticks and whatnot that need to accompany you to the rink.
About the time the kids head back to school, the countdown begins. The season is starting in a matter of days. You’re ready for it. Or your not, but you are still looking forward to seeing your fellow hockey people. You have missed the structure. You’ve missed the game. You’ve missed seeing your kid play a game they love.
All of a sudden it’s go time. And you have forgotten how much you were looking forward to the end of the season just a few short weeks ago.
See you at the rink.