Sunday, March 08, 2009

End of the Season

No, not the end of the winter season, as we still have a couple of months to go... but since the kommun only subsidizes the outdoor ice rink for three months, there's no more ice for general skating and hockey.
We said farewell to hockey yesterday, on a typically gray Saturday in March, with Abba's Mamma Mia belting out of the ice rink's loudspeakers.

As much as I have dreaded hockey each Wednesday and early on Saturday mornings, I will miss it. I'm getting better at getting the boys dressed - in the proper order and with the skates on the right feet - and they're getting better at moving the dressing process forward as well. As much as Benjamin has complained before each and every hockey practice, he has improved in his skating and seems to actually enjoy his time on the ice. And David and the boys have found Jeff and William, an American dad and son from Benjamin's school, that they can play with after Saturday practices. David even bought himself a hockey helmet and stick for their games.

I will also miss the social aspect of hockey practice. There's nothing like a warm cup of coffee at the rink to get parents to chat with each other... and though 9am on Saturday is not my first choice of practice time, it does get us up and out of the house on some of the most dreary days of the winter season.

But I am truly afraid that Benjamin's hockey days may be permanently over. I have now read Outliers, and have learned that the first key to being a great hockey player is having a birthday early in the year - almost all of the professional hockey players are born in January, February and March. With two June birthdays, my boys are not the biggest or the most skilled on the ice, compared to kids who are four to six months older then they are. Benjamin's hockey group has already been "picked over" by the real team, and the better players have already moved on - this at age 7. Christopher has at one to two years of hockey to go before things get selective, but I'm not sure where Benjamin will fit in next year.
That said, I don't really want to have a hockey kid, nor do I want to be a hockey mom. When I hear of hockey practices starting in August for elementary school age kids... 14-year-olds who spend 20 hours a week in hockey practice... 8am ice times on both Saturday and Sunday... matches in distant towns with wintery road conditions... I just want them to continue having fun on the ice a couple of times a week. I hope we can find that next year.

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