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