Category Archives: Sports

Hockey Parenting – Not a Spectator Sport

You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.
Sarah Palin

Honestly never expected that I would ever be quoting Sarah, but just spent a great weekend travelling north with friends to see their son play hockey, and it seems applicable.  Their son plays in an elite provincial league which for many is a stepping stone to the NHL.  He’s 19 and lives 8 hrs away from home.

This young guy is such an amazing talent – but I just can’t understand  how he  got this far with our friends for parents. For one thing, they don’t go to any of the practices, to help the coach with strategy and whatnot.  They don’t have the coach on speed-dial, and I didn’t once witness them critiquing the plays or offering suggestions.  My son played hockey, and even though he mysteriously chose to stop playing once he became a teenager, I’m sure he couldn’t have had the stellar house league career he did, were it not for the fact that his dad was the coach, offering tips and direction 24-7,  and had I not been dedicated enough to faithfully stand  and bang on the glass for every practice and game , yelling helpful reminders such as “SKATE!” and “SHOOT!” and “GET IT OUT OF THERE!”

Instead,  this poor young man’s parents just watched and made noise only at the obvious times — even when he got a penalty, whereas everyone knows that if you stand up and make wild hand gestures whilst loudly screaming things like “COME ON!!!” or “HOMEEEEEER” (where applicable), that the referee will see the error of his ways and the next penalty will go to the opposition.  (His team ultimately won both games, but no thanks to these spectators.)

Plus, they sit in the stands with the rest of the audience, and if someone around them comments on their son’s play, they don’t even respond with a normal reaction of (if a positive comment): “That’s my son out there”, or if a negative comment*: “Shut your effing mouth and watch the game”, or blast an air horn in their face to set them straight or anything – they just sit there like bumps on a log.  Also, my suggestion that we paint their son’s name on our bellies for the home opener fell on deaf ears.  They politely declined.  (I think it may have been related to my caesarean scar but I can’t be sure.)

Then, the part after the game when people gather outside the dressing room door to wait for the team, they could and in my opinion should take this opportunity to network with the media and say things like, “Do you know who I am?”  Like honestly, ever heard of Walter Gretzky?  That kind of press doesn’t just happen on its own you know.  They also should take the time to talk to the other parents to give them specifics on how their kids could step things up, and give examples of how the game could have gone better if their kid had only passed the puck to their offspring.  But no, they just stand there, smiling and chatting, and are satisfied instead with a quick hug from their boy when he emerges from the dressing room.

And they completely missed the boat on the fact that the opposing team’s bus was right outside, and they could have easily taken the opportunity to put the fear into that team about the remaining season by at the very least, issuing veiled threats as the players boarded,  or by slashing at least one tire.  At one point I thought things were going to get real interesting because after the game they were marching purposefully toward the opposing team’s bus in search of one particular player.  They seemed very focused and intent on finding this guy, and I thought “FINALLY!” and racked my brain to remember what this player had done during the game that they were going to get retribution for!  Turns out, they were just trying to find this guy because he used to be on the same team as their son, and they wanted to say “Hi” and ask about his parents.    Hopeless. 

Actually, the only real hockey related comments from mom were health and safety related, like is the chin strap on his helmet tight enough to protect his noggin, and did the team issue a coat that was going to be warm enough in this cold climate.  Two words, mom and dad – embarrassing much?

*Pure speculation on my part -there were no negative comments



Filed under Family, Friends, Sports

Best(ies) Ball

It’s almost golf season.  Well, technically it’s already golf season but the weather has been uncooperative so we haven’t made it out yet.  We 12 local women (give or take) have been golfing 9 holes quasi-faithfully once a week for about the past 10 years. (You might think that in that time I would have shown some improvement. You would be wrong.)

Our local course holds a weekly ladies night, coincidentally on the same night that we go out – but we don’t participate in it.  That’s because after 10 years of play together, we have customized and refined the rules somewhat.  Since we are such a mature, elite, finely tuned advanced golf playing unit, we can’t be integrated into the general ladies night population. Subtle differences in our playbook are:

  1. We have been known to call off the golf date without notice if any of these circumstances arise: a)Too Hot b) Too Cold c) Too Rainy d) Might Rain e) Too Windy f) Too much gossip to be realistically dealt with during the après golf session.
  2. We do not adhere to the dress code.  When it’s hot and menopausal out, the last thing you want is a collar.  We sometimes go with the tankini or muscle shirt.  Plus, golf shoes are not always the best fashion choice.  We live by the motto that “It is better to look good than to golf good.” (Grammar is not a strong suit either.)
  3. We walk, we don’t cart.  If we participated in real ladies night we would be expected to cart it, but we enjoy our leisurely strolls down the fairway, even when the Marshall is lurking along behind us, trying to hurry us along.  (He is never successful.  As if we got this far in our lives without being able to ignore an irritated man.)
  4. We don’t keep score.  Well that’s not true.  A couple of the girls who are good (and I use the term “girls” loosely) secretly keep their own scores. And when I say good, these individuals could play on the Pro Circuit.  (I amuse myself by commenting “good try” every time they knock one down the middle of the fairway.  It never gets old.  They in turn, try to look busy during all of my practice shots that we both know are in reality, swings and misses.)
  5. We take snack breaks.  Golfing is hungry work. On any given night, our golf bags are filled with ju-jubes, trail mix, Pringles, granola bars – and that’s just to tide us over until the post-golf fellowship session at somebody’s house, featuring beer, chips, cheese trays, multiple dips, fruit and veggie platters and a selection of delectable sweets.  Luckily we’ve learned that our golf shorts must offer the same flexibility as turkey pants.
  6. We are sometimes noisy. The whole notion of silence when someone is driving or putting or whatever just doesn’t work for us.  We have a lot of material to cover.  On average each of the players has 2.5 children, and we need weekly status updates on each of them, including job prospects, romantic couplings, changes of address and news of any impending or existing grandchildren, so at 12 women x 5 minutes per update – think  “The View” on steroids.  We can’t be simply shutting up every few minutes, we’re all accomplished multi-taskers and it’s just not a good use of time.
  7. We are sometimes excessively noisy.   When something completely unexpected happens, like the ball goes in the hole without the benefit of 4 or 5 putts and a well placed tap with the foot wedge,  we have been known to scream, jump and carry on a bit like  pubgoers did when Canada won the men’s Olympic hockey game .
  8. We sometimes use profanities.   Like when we (and in this case, when I say “we” I mean “I”) yell “Whore” instead of “Fore”, at the foursome of our friends in front of us, when they are in imminent danger of being hit by one of our balls.  This almost never happens, because they tend not to walk in the bush or wade in the water where my balls usually gravitate.
  9. We have been known to sneak onto parts of the course we’re not supposed to.    Every year, for the past 10 years, the SAME 9 holes.  Honestly.  The golf course business has done really well, and expanded to a spectacular 27 hole course –  yet we are expected to play the SAME 9 holes.    Sometimes, when nobody is looking … and things are really slow in front of us … we just make a break for the nice, newer sections of the course.  If discovered, we have no trouble pulling off the old “disoriented” routine.
  10. Sometimes we lose control.  (And in this case when I say “we” I mean “they”) When something really remarkable happens, like somebody chips it in or gets a hole in 2 or 3, all out hysteria, flatulence and/or mild incontinence has been known to ensue.

Even though there has been surprisingly little effort on their part to recruit us, we must nevertheless decline joining the local ladies night group.  Sorry about your loss – you can keep your carts and your scorecards and your collared shirts and your etiquette.     In short, after 10 years of golfing, our standards are set pretty high, and we’re a little too discriminating to play with just anybody. See you on the links next week.  Weather and other stuff permitting.

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Filed under Friends, Sports