Hockey Mom or Rookie Mom?
My high school senior caught me off guard last fall with the announcement, “Mom, I’m playing hockey this year.”
This from the kid who’s never played hockey … Not that he hasn’t wanted to; we just aren’t hockey people.
By that I mean his mother had neither the will nor the means to keep up with our hockey friends on the road and in hotel rooms.
I drove my child to open skate as often as he asked, but his yearning for competitive ice time persisted.
That’s why his senior year hockey experience has been, as he calls it, “a dream come true,” even if it’s only junior varsity.
The opportunity arose when his varsity friends needed players for a JV team and recruited a motley crew of senior-year skaters who happened to be their classmate buddies.
The pitch was too good to turn down. They were invited to play with borrowed equipment and minimal practice commitments.
Meanwhile, new recruits are reveling in the glory of senior status typically reserved for skaters who dedicated a lifetime to the ice.
… Rookie faces appear in the official “senior hockey banner” at the arena, and their poster-size portraits line the rink alongside their senior varsity teammates … as if they’ve always been there.
Despite the same hockey hair and stinky jerseys, the similarities end there.
On the ice, the rookies perform with skills of Mini Mites, struggling to stay upright, let alone master a shot on goal. … At the same time they’re living the dream of ice time on the official LHS team.
As a first-time hockey mom, however, I’ve had more than a few reservations about the arrangement.
Like the senior rookies, the rookie moms have enjoyed all the benefits of senior status with none of the investment that typically goes with it.
It especially struck me last weekend at the annual Parents Day event at the Blue Mound Ice Arena. I don’t know much about hockey, but I do know that Parents Day should honor grownups who earned the recognition.
The rookie parents and I took our places in line next to the varsity parents last weekend to receive long-stem roses and thank you cards from our hockey sons.
“Shouldn’t the rookie moms have their own line?” I humbly suggested. “Maybe we’re more deserving of carnations than roses.”
In their usual spirit of inclusion, the varsity moms assured us we belonged, and I enjoyed a fleeting moment of varsity pride as my hockey player gave me a rose and a hug when our names were announced over the loud speaker.
We also received preprinted thank you cards signed by our sons. “Thank you, Mom, for all the smelly jerseys you’ve washed late at night … for every white knuckle drive through a raging blizzard to get me to the rink on time … and most importantly, for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”
This, I decided, deserves a public thank you note to the real hockey moms from the rookie moms. “Thank you for welcoming us into your hockey world of red-and-white camaraderie. … and for believing in us when we didn’t think we belonged.”
Go Big Red!