It’s mid-August and most normal people are enjoying the remaining "dog days" of summer like the slow death of the flower pots and the front lawn, the countless roadside corn stands, the Perseids meteor shower and rapidly diminishing daylight hours.
Most hockey moms, however, are not normal people. They recognize that summer is coming to a hasty conclusion by the sudden incidence and increasing frequency of the hockey emails: try-outs, conditioning camps, sort out skates, frantic pleas from friends for replacements for outgrown hockey equipment, etc. Such is the life of a veteran hockey mom.
My summer’s end is not always marked with back-to-school shopping and pencil sharpening but by a hockey association’s plea for fees, trips to the sporting goods store, and the promise of happy arena reunions.
Yes, there are the Initiation and Novice parents (hockey parents with less than 4 seasons of minor hockey under their jockstraps), who prepare with shiny new pint-sized hockey equipment, fully charged cameras and gleaming new travels mugs.
The Atom and Peewee parents look forward to their reconvening with a solid social network and recalibrated car-pooling schedules. Bantam parents start the season thinking, “two more years and they can drive themselves to the arena”, and the Midget parents hand over the car keys.
I’m recalling five years ago, I was set to take to the ice (well not the ice but maybe the stands) in what was my 10th season as a hockey mom. My oldest was preparing for his Major Bantam year tryouts, my middle one for Minor Bantam tryouts, and my youngest for a year of Atom tryouts – all as goalies. Holy hectic!
Safe to say that my preseason training involved a quick trip to the liquor store too! If the dream of an NHL career still existed in their impressionable young athletic minds and bodies, my kids articulated it less and less.
They were increasingly more focused instead on their reunion with friends and coaches that their summer networks may not have included, and quickly set their sights on new competitions offered by league and tournament play.
Today, as I prepare for my 15th season I remain a supportive and committed hockey mom, though now to only one hockey player. My end of summer back-to-hockey shopping has been overshadowed by tuition, resident and meal plan fees, university shopping lists and frequent warnings of “what not to bring to your dorm”.
My end of summer days are also spent making lists of supplies needed for an apartment that will be shared by five 19-year-olds (Kevlar couches, bullet-proof dishware and self-destructing beer cans are on that list).
Despite all that fun, the hockey prep is still the same:
So much for summer - it’s disappearing faster that than a Slushie in the hands of a 7 year old!
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