In When Harry Met Sally, Harry tells Sally that “there are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.” I would argue that the same can be said for hockey players. I should know – I happen to be raising one of the high maintenance kind.
The locker room is the best place to identify the types. You walk in there and see the kids who drag their own bag in, immediately open it up, and start getting dressed. They may, depending upon their age, ask an adult to help them tie their skates, but otherwise they take care of themselves efficiently and get out on the ice. They may joke around or banter with teammates, but that does not distract them from the task of getting dressed.
Then there are the “other” kind. Those who need prompting and prodding to stay on task or can’t find their gear or whine and complain about how their socks fit or that their skates are too loose/tight. On a good day, my son fits into this category, especially when it comes to how his socks feel inside his skates. That alone can sometimes require 2-3 tries before the skates can be tied. Of course, I have only myself to blame – before a run, I adjust my socks obsessively. This does not, however, make me completely empathetic. Particularly when in a crowded locker room.
And then there are the REALLY high maintenance days. Don’t even get me started on those. Suffice to say that we had one recently so it is fresh in my mind. We end up fighting in the locker room and both leaving in a huff. Not pretty nor particularly helpful. Who knows what sets those days off, but the locker room seems to be a great stage for them. I think it starts with a bad mood and is amplified by the amount of “stuff” that has to happen to get ready for practice in a short amount of time – bathroom break, street clothes off, socks adjusted just so, pants on, leg pads on and buckled and snapped the right way, etc., etc., etc. Thankfully, he is able to get himself mostly dressed so my involvement is becoming less and less.
I know that goalies are typically known as a bit “odd.” I haven’t researched the maintenance levels of well-known goalies, but from what I’ve read, I can imagine that if I asked their parents, they could relate some similar stories. Imagine Tim Thomas as a kid, having a fit like he’s had on the ice (you can get a taste of that from this shootout video).
I figure that by next year, my son will be on his own completely. Perhaps peer pressure will keep his high maintenance tendencies in check.
Or, perhaps I’ll see his coach emerge with steam coming from his ears. I can empathize with that.