Monthly Archives: January 2014

Just Keep Breathing

So this season has been less than spectacular for my son’s hockey team. A record of a couple wins-more losses-a few ties has made for a long season. But, as I mentioned in a previous post, many folks have told me that, for a goalie, being in net for a season like this can be the best thing. Lots of shots, lots of activity, lots of opportunities to learn and develop.

The same can be said for the goalie mom.

I used to be a more nervous spectator when my boy was in goal. I had a hard time sitting still and usually needed to find some space to stand and pace. I guess I just felt the pressure, just like I feel the pain when he is hurt or my heart breaks when his does.

This season allowed me to relax a bit. I just couldn’t keep up that stress level every week since he was under fire for a majority of the game, every time he was in net. It was exhausting. So, I learned to sit and watch the game, chatting with other parents, tensing only slightly when an opposing player got a breakaway and hurtled towards my son, who stood (crouched, really) at the ready.

Progress, I thought. Until…

This last game nearly did me in. This was the game that my son asked to play in so that he could face the team that beat him down earlier in the season. I was good leading up to the game – my son was hesitant to ask his coach and I did not step in. If he wanted this game, he had to step up and ask for it. I was not going to email the coach or talk to him on my son’s behalf. And I was happy when we got the email that he was in for that game. I was proud of my boy and excited about his opportunity.

Game time, however, was excruciating. I didn’t realize how nervous I was until we were driving there and it just escalated throughout the game. This game was not a big deal and the opponent was not all that great, but I knew this game was important to him and all of my mom instincts took over. I wanted him to have a great game. I wanted him to be successful since he wanted it so badly. I would have jumped out there and stood in the net myself, if that would have helped him out (and it certainly would NOT have helped so I stuck with willing all my energy to him from outside the rink).

I was a nut job. I was pacing, I was bending over whenever he had a shot on him. I backed away from the glass whenever the other team headed into his zone. I felt nauseous. At one point, I walked over to another parent, who complimented my son’s game, and croaked out “I can’t breathe.” I was that bad!

So, perhaps I have some more work to do on my game, just as my son has work to do on his. Or maybe I’ll just always be a basket case when he is in a big game (be it a really meaningful game or just one that means something to him). Braden Holtby’s mom certainly still seems to feel the way I do, and her son plays in the NHL.

Advice for all us moms, with apologies to “Finding Nemo” – just keep breathing.

Put Me In Coach

That song has been in my head all day. Even though it is about baseball, it was very appropriate for my son’s hockey game today. A month and a half or so ago I posted about my son’s lowest-of-low points, a game where he not only got beat, but was completely beaten. Today was the second of two match ups with that same team – this time on their home rink. I told him the other day that he was playing them again this weekend.

His response?

“I want to beat them!”

I loved hearing that – no fear, no backing away from the challenge. Good stuff.

However, the decision about who is in net when is not mine to make. So, I told him that if he wanted to play in that game, he had to ask his coach. He was not sure what to say so his dad and I coached him on how to approach his coach and what he could say. At the first practice of the week, he chickened out and did not ask. He said he was scared that his coach might get mad at him. I explained that while his coach may not put him in net for that game, for whatever reason, there is no coach out there that would be mad to hear that a player wanted to face an opponent that had beaten them before.

So, at the next practice, my boy summoned his courage and asked his coach, who said exactly that – he would think about it, but he was very happy to hear that my son wanted this challenge.

Long story short, my son played today against that team and played very well. His team played well as a whole and I saw some great teamwork and loved how they had each other’s back. The ¬†outcome, while not movie-perfect (they were ahead 3-2 with less than a minute left and with .004 on the clock, the other team scored to end in a tie), was so much better than last time and my son was all smiles afterwards.

Another life lesson learned – “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” He had to let his coach know how he felt or take whatever was assigned to him. So he ventured – asked the coach – and gained – redeemed himself in his own eyes for the prior performance.

I’ll save my observations about how I felt through all of this, particularly during the game today, for another post. Suffice to say, I am learning some lessons of my own on this hockey journey of ours.

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