Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Season Opener

John is moving up to squirt-level hockey. Squirts are between 9 and almost 12. We had a team meeting last night and realized that Things are Changing.

"OK," said one of the coaches. "So, we're looking over the schedule and we've got like 10 games, plus three jamborees."

Matt and I were standing across the room from each other. At this, our eyes met. Ten games? Plus? And did somebody just say "Grand Rapids"?

But this wasn't the biggest change. This year, the squirt team will be divided up into an A team and a B team. And this has some parents annoyed.

There was a lot of blah-blah from parents who wanted to know what they should tell their kids if their kids end up on the B team. "How am I supposed to explain to him why this happened?" demanded one mom, who also seemed to have some concerns about how the kids might be told. "I mean, is it going to be posted on a piece of paper?"

By this time Matt had come over to my side of the room. "Hockey was funny up till now, wasn't it?" he whispered. "It's not funny anymore now, is it?"

John loves playing. I like being a part of it. But living in a small town, we are dealing with parents who are acting out resentments that they've held against other parents for 25 years, since they knew each other in school. Parents may have had a bad breakup with the coach, years ago. Your stepson makes the A team while your son, who's living with your wife, who married the tryout judge last year, makes the B team.

Whatever. We drove home, John bubbling over with fear and excitement and apprehension and eagerness of tryouts. But talking about it all, tryouts aren't even the biggest change John is facing.

At the squirt level, parents aren't allowed in the locker room.

This means the kids either have to get dressed at home, or suit up by themselves. And for John, this means tying his own skates.

What are tryouts next to that?


  1. Sounds a lot like how soccer has been changing for Sarah...

    Ah well, they need to learn about real competition someday. (and also, the unfairness that could arise in such situations, as you point out)

    So has hockey training become year-round like soccer training has? That's sort of what kills me. Aren't there *seasons* anymore? Then again, they really excel with the year-round stuff, so there's good in it too...

  2. Yes, this is the first year I heard a coach say "win." So it'll be interesting.

    There are year-round hockey training programs available ("summer hockey"), but at this stage, it's more useful for John to play other sports (he loves baseball), and I think it makes for a more well-rounded kid. Which is a nice way of saying that he's not at the level to justify paying for summer hockey yet.