Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Toast to the Hockey Tournament

I don't usually blog two days in a row any more.  But I had an experience at a hockey game early this evening and a 90 minute ride home that gave me a lot of time to contemplate.  that I need to get out.  And decompress.  

Earlier today I made a comment about hockey parents and their reputation.  Unfortunately, in the last game my son played in the tournament, I almost became one of "those" hockey parents.  There was a call that was debatable.  The call benefited my son's team.  At least one other parent was yelling at the referees in an overly loud way.  One of my son's teams's parents responded in a way that might be considered over the top.  Then I joined in the shouting to tell the parent on the other team he shouldn't be yelling at the refs anyway.  A woman associated with the other team told our side to "Shut the F*** up."  One of our parents got on her case for that.  None of that after the call on the ice should have happened.  At the end of the day, all of us associated with my son's team, including me, should leave calling out a rowdy parent to the referees.  And all parents, including me, should leave the officiating to the refs.

When all was said and done aside from this one issue, the kids on both the Baltimore Stars and the Wissahickon Warriors in the Squirt B2 division played an amazing two games in a day.  They faced each other in the last game of the division before the consolation and championship games this evening and they faced each other again in the consolation game.  In the first game the final score was 3-1.  In the consolation game the final score was 6-5.  My son's team lost the first game and won the second.  And aside from my son accidentally putting the puck in his own team's goal, the number of goals scored by each team at the end of two very competitive games would have been 7.  My son made the mistake of trying to turn to puck around in front of (rather than behind) his own goal and lost control and it drifted into the net.

So, the kids were evenly matched.  Even with our team at just half strength.

The kids on both teams played well.  My son's team came back after the loss in the morning to go up 5-0.  The other kids--to their credit--fought back hard to tie the game at 5-5.  My son redeemed himself after scoring the fourth goal for the other team by taking the puck all the way up the ice from his defensive position, going behind the net as he could not get a shot, and getting the assist on what turned out to be the game winning goal.

The kids from Wissahickon did not lose heart.  The just kept playing as hard as possible.  

The coaches on both teams taught their players to keep playing hard.  And maintained their composure regardless of what was happening in the stands.

The kids on both teams also played a clean game with very few penalties.

And the referees did a great job no matter how much a parent's complaints may have nearly led to an altercation.

The referees are human.  And we, in the stands, don't see what they see.  Ultimately, there will be mistakes and with enough games played some mistakes will favor a team and others will not.  

So, as I prepare for the last weekend of my son's time at the squirt level, I will redouble my efforts to only cheer in ways that acknowledge of encourage my son's team.  I will acknowledge good saves by the other goalie.  And I will leave worrying about inappropriate comments by parents to the referees.  That is their job--not mine.  

My job is to be a supportive parent who provides the resources, provides the encouragement, and helps my son get to the games in a sport he loves, my wife and I love, the coaches love, the referees love, and all the other parents love.  
And in the meantime, we should all remember, myself included, it is a game.  

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