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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hockey Moms' Cat Fight

Are Hockey Moms supposed to be good role models for their little players? And if they are: WHAT is the right thing to do when they - the moms - are upset? Be straight and fair or engage in a fist fight? Because, after all, it's hockey!

I was really excited about resuming Colin's Wednesday routine:

Rented everything we needed for the season (thanks for the recommendation, Manu!):

 




Got our snacks and dinner ready:


Arrived there in time to register and get our jersey, gloves and helmet. Actually it was easy to find a parking spot even in the parking garage, and there was no waiting in line. Not at the main entrance, not at the skates rental desk, not even in the hallway leading to the locker rooms. I was feeling slightly nervous. Have we come a week early or something? I should have checked their website once more. But no. Oct 22nd. Right on. 


While I filled out the form, the girl issued my receipt and put the jersey on the desk. Light blue. Colin's eyes got wide. "Not again! I wanted a red one this time", he said. I asked her if it was possible to have a red jersey. "No, I'm sorry. No requests. Next!" 

Ouch. Dumbfounded, he was like "Mommy, that wasn't a real reason, was it?" I thought it was rude to say the least but didn't feel like going back and argue with her. We got to work to put on his gear. Shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards,… velcro fasteners everywhere. What goes where..? 

Finally we were ready to put on the jersey. One arm… the other one… wait, it doesn't fit. At all! Way to small! 

I could smell my chance. Back to the desk. "Excuse me…" I started, when the lady behind me threw her son's (red) jersey on the desk and said "I won't let him play as number 13,  give me another one, would you?"

I don't know whose look was more surprised and annoyed, the rental lady's or mine. 

Hello? I was first? And what part of no requests didn't you understand?

I mean, I get that sportsmen are supersticious. Hockey players especially.
 
I can even spot strangers out there. Like when we were boarding our London - Vancouver flight. We like to board among the latest passengers. Cause frankly, when facing a long-haul flight, why would someone choose to sit in there longer than necessary?
 
So there was this guy lingering by the entrance.
"Go ahead, you were here first" I said to him.
"No, no, I'll wait - you go ahead", he replied.
"You don't strike me as a person who is afraid to fly" I told him "so you must be a hockey player!"
He was stunned.
"You are that player who always goes on the ice last, right?"
Bull's Eye. He used to play in Edmonton, he told me. But he didn't make it to the Oilers.
" I ran out of talent" he snickered.

Back to our locker room:
 
Rental lady and line cutting lady got into a verbal fight. Line cutting lady grabbed her jersey, walked around the desk to address the second rental lady. Second rental lady had overheard the argument and was quick to confirm that in fact, unfortunately, they could not do exchanges. It was written all over her face that she wanted to say "we are not at the GAP here!"

Since the first rental lady was available now I gave her our jersey and said it didn't fit, could we please have a larger one, and now that we needed a new one, surely she could sneak me a red one, please?

Her look was like "I said NO the first time", but she didn't say anything, reached to the stack of the light blue ones and grabbed one in a larger size. "Look if we start accepting every person's wish we can't work here. We alternate colors so there is approximately the same amount of kids wearing the same color out there. Everybody gets what they get, and that's how it works."

This made sense. In theory. But not in reality. Cause the teams on the ice are not put together according to jersey color but - in fact I don't know the criteria. There are different teams every time because some kids attend every week, others don't.

"You know last year we arrived late, and when he asked for a red jersey he was told there weren't any left in his size, and that was fine. Today we are here early, there are plenty of jerseys in every size and color in plain view of him, so where seems to be the problem?" 

"I can't help you. Sorry."

Line cutting lady was still there, her red no. 13 in her hands. I hated her for squeezing in but offered "I'll give you my light blue Jersey if you give me your red one, I don't care about the 13, my son just wants a red one?" 

Of course, both rental ladies heard that. "No exchanging whatsoever!! This is gonna screw up our notes!"

OK, enough. I know they work here without any pay and - obviously - appreciation, so I decided to let it go. 

Just when I was done fastening Colin's helmet, be both witnessed how line cutting lady approached the desk for the third time. I think I held my breath. We couldn't understand what she said, but we witnessed how second rental lady twitched no. 13 jersey from line cutting lady, and she was very, very annoyed. She handed her a different number, red again, and scribbled a note. 

Colin looked at me, half shocked, half amused. 

D***! I didn't want to go there.

"You know, that shouldn't have happened. She shouldn't have been rewarded for her bad behavior. We are going to keep our light blue jersey, and you'll play successfully as h***, and you'll check that lady's boy's ass on the ice. One day you'll be playing for the Blackhawks in a pretty red jersey, and we will think back about this incident and we'll say LOOK WHO'S LAUGHING NOW!!"


That made us both smile. 

Then he went on the ice for the first time this season. I had hoped we would get a chance to do some skating while in Canada, but we didn't. So he was a little rusty, and I felt bad for him. 


He never got the puck because the others were quicker on their skates. He fell a lot, too. But he got up everytime and kept skating. Slowly, but he was moving all the time. That's the Spirit!

I heard some people whispering "is that Robbie Earl over there? How nice of him to play with the kids!" Wow, I sure hoped Colin recognized him!


So when the hour was up, he came to meet me at the board, his face all red, eyes very bright, a million dollar smile. "Mommy, I had two top opportunities! Did you see me? Now can you help me getting that helmet off, I'm sweating like a pig!!"


And THAT is what it's all about!

As for crazy hockey moms. I pledge that I will never ever do what this lady did:


If you've got 9:12 minutes to spare, watch this: "The Beauty of Hockey".

Sensational goals, proof of how skilled those guys are.

And in the end… you may need a tissue. I did.