Today it's getting cold around here, we're setting out on sheer ice! Does this expression exist in English? It does in German. It means getting out of your comfort zone, taking a risk because you might fail / fall.
Well, it's what my son Colin did when he was about four years old.
|With Jussi Markkanen, who was "our" goalie back then.|
He admired hockey players as long as he can remember (and beyond), and when he turned five, he started hockey school.
He wasn't able to skate well, but that didn't prevent him from going on the ice. He fell, he got up, he fell, he got up and never once complained.
That was in 2013.
At the end of season 2015/16, one of his buddies got selected into the youth team. Colin was happy for his friend and a litte disappointed it wasn't him, even though he knew what he needed to work on (skating).
Now with every year that you grow older, the odds of making the team get slimmer. Why? The ones who are on the team train 2 - 3 times a week and play on weekends. The kids in hockey school train once a week.
Colin didn't want to hear what his parents had to say (he should practice his skating skills.) He figured "I'm the top scorer among my peers, why wouldn't they pick me?" (Because everyone who knows anything about hockey told us it's all about the skating)
So as the end of this season was approaching last month, we were nervous.
Rumors had it they weren't accepting any more 2008 born hockey schoolers. Especially because talents from other clubs applied, "and they're great!"
If he didn't make the team now it was going to be near impossible next year because the skills gap is getting bigger and bigger.
Colin's buddy (done with his practice) and his Mom joined me in the audience. "The talent scout is over there, and he's taking notes, so they're still shopping" she said. "You should go down there and introduce yourself."
Not that I am not happy to support my boy, but I'd rather he got accepted on his own merits.
They told me how it went down last year: at the end of practice every player "gloves-taps" the head coach to say goodbye as usual. The ones who got picked got a sticker on their helmet, a secret sign to tell them they should not proceed to the locker room just yet.
I told Conny, my fellow Hockey Mom:
You know so far everything in life has come easy to Colin: friends, daycare, school, grades, he's been good at everything he touches, and he hasn't really experienced what it takes to succeed at something that is important to him.
This is the one area he has worked hard for. He could have done more, (the skating), but he has still come such a long way.
So tonight he is going to learn that
A - Hard work pays off
B - Sometimes your best is not (yet) good enough, don't give up, though
From where I usually sit and watch him practising, it takes a couple of minutes to walk all the way around the arena's seating area, out of the building, past the outdoor rink, back into the building, down the stairs, all the way through the hallway to the indoor rink's penalty bench (that's where they exit!)
I didn't want to be late to meet him down there (either way, to celebrate or comfort) so I got up and was on my way, one eye always glued to the field. At some point I couldn't see him anymore, and I wasn't sure if that was a good or a bad sign.
Either they removed him and went to a secret meeting spot or he already left and was now waiting for me, not only feeling frustrated about not making it but also deserted by his own mother.
I had to exit the building. Texted Conny: "where's Colin, can you see him?"
I was running now. Kids were already coming my way toward the locker room.
When I arrived, a couple of kids were still saying goodbye to the coaching staff members, but the majority of the children had left.
Where the h*** was my son?
I spotted him on the opposite board, it was him and a handful of other players.
My heart skipped a beat.
He made it!! Those must be the chosen ones, oh my goodness!!!
Text from Conny (probably sent by her son): a dozen thumbs up and smileys!
I asked one of the coaches how long they were going to be?
"Is one of those kids yours? Then you should get over there and listen, they're telling them about training, equipment and hockey camp!"
And this, my friends, is what a super happy 8 year old who just learned that he got accepted to the team, looks like:
This was my inspirational story. It doesn't get much better, does it?
Of course there's a long way ahead of us. One practice will most likely collide with classes and we will have to apply for some exceptional weekly leave. I will have to drive him 2 - 3 times. One way is about 50 minutes. There will be games on weekends, and they will begin early in the morning. God have mercy - and make coffee!
Are you into ice hockey? What team? What inspires you? (Besides hockey...)
Check out a couple of other letter I posts and be sure to come back tomorrow. We're trying on my old jeans and jump around the living room like crazy people!