Loving hockey is like loving that misfit family member that demands all of you and smells bad.
This blazing hot Southern week has been spent in the confines of an ice rink. Despite the bad fluorescent lighting and high stink factor of the locker rooms, I have counted myself blessed to freeze my hockey mom buns off. Rather, more blessed to see my son in love with something like hockey.
Now I have had my share of “discussions” with other friends about the violence of hockey, how it teaches kids to fight, how the injuries are beyond belief. But I can see more violence on their video game shelves and the TV shows they watch. I understand that hockey requires a great deal of aggression to be any good. But so does life.
The thing about hockey is it’s really hard. Not only is it physically demanding, but it requires strategy, discipline and serious teamwork. It has become a metaphor for all the tough things in life. For us, the lesson of hockey is that to get really good at something, you have to work. Not only work hard, you have to work your buns off and be good to your team along the way.
Hockey has become the teachable reference for math, for learning something new, for doing the difficult things. It teaches them at an early age that team is everything --- if you’re a jerk to your team, no one’s going to give you the puck. For a kid to know early on what it’s like to work through something hard as a team means they have a true appreciation for when they succeed, win or fail.
Watching my son circle around and around on the frozen rink is really boring, and stinky. But he loves it and he shows up every day with a good attitude, ready to work hard – because hockey is something he loves. I adore that he is gaining a valuable life lesson that he can carry with him the rest of his life. This lesson will go with him to his future job, perhaps his marriage and putting his talents to work. For that great reward, I can handle a little stink along the way.
Written by Cara McLauchlan, whose blog, Joy Goggles, celebrates the simple joys of life. It’s a chance to look at our days through “Joy Goggles” and discover the beauty in ordinary moments.