Sunday, March 21, 2010

Moving Up and On....

Graduation Time....

Our end of the season gathering Friday night at the Spaghetti Warehouse reflected on a great season. Not in terms of wins and losses, (and there were plenty of wins) but all that our teen boys gained in terms of leadership, friendship and team spirit. There are some years when the months can just drag. Conflicts, clicks on the ice, puck hogs or parents who excessively whine or try to tell the coach how the game ought to be played. There are other years when you hit it just right. Good chemistry, respect for one another on the ice, fun tournaments, good coaching and great parental support. This was one of those years when the planets were aligned and we hit it all, just right.

More than a Season Ender

There were plenty of ' lump-in-the throat moments' Friday night for our final team gathering. Moving up in the hockey hierarchy at this level, often means moving on. Our talented second year Bantams will be playing for their high school teams next season; Camillus, Baldwinsville, C-NS, CBA, Liverpool.... wow, no longer on the same team! They grew up learning how to play on the ice together and next year they'll be battling against each other in the race for the puck. My heart is feeling a little heavy thinking about that, but fortunately this last year for youth hockey ended on a very high note. More on a moment.

It seems like just yesterday I laced him up in his first pair of skates. He wasn't thrilled, but being an avid figure skater, I certainly was and I was determined not to let him give up after a few falls. Two weeks later, I got him to break from a 'march of the penguins' technique to steady glides by blowing soap bubbles on the ice, encouraging him to pop the bubbles with his blades. It worked! He began to develop a love for the ice. It wasn't long after that, my husband announced that he was okay with our son skating, as long as he had stick in his hand. I conceded. The hockey stick stuck and my son's passion for the sport grew. Fast forward to March 2010. Hard to believe this is his last year of youth hockey. A treasured time for sure. As we walked to our car Friday night after the team farewell party, my son said, " This by far was the best year." I didn't have to ask why, but I wanted to hear his reasoning... so I pressed a bit, reminding him this was the first year his travel team didn't secure the Pre-Sectional title. The first year he didn't get that first place trophy to add to all the others on his bedroom shelf. "True enough," said my son, " But this year, we were a team. A real team. " Great way to end the youth hockey experience, achieving goals that matter. Goals that really count.


We handed out gifts and photos , plus we all did a bit of reflecting on the season that just ended, including head coach Mike Zandri. Coach Zandri also praised the Bantam boys for their camaraderie and hard work. " You guys didn't get to states, but not for lack of talent. You were a really good team. It was a lot of fun. There were plenty of great moments during the season, but there was one moment that defined how tight you all got and how well you all came together as a team. It had to be... 'Big John's' goal in Lake Placid. I had a lot of favorite plays during the year, but I would have to say that was one of my favorite goals and I'll tell you why. Because when I turned around and looked back at everyone on the ice and everyone on the bench...every kid was cheering...every parent was cheering as if it was their own kid who just scored that goal. It was the way you guys rallied as a team after Big John's goal and that was a special moment. I remember the whole season, but that particular moment was a very special moment." The coach went on to say, " At the very end of the season, the whole Lake Placid experience... watching you guys run around town on your own, being responsible and good representatives of your team...a great end to a great year. "

Let's relive that magical moment in Lake it is again..big John's glorious goal.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree! This was our first year on the travel team and not knowing exactly what to expect, everyone welcomed us with open arms.. I can't tell you how awesome this year has been. Its truly a year that will never be forgotten.. Thank you all..