Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Tournament Kids

                                         THE TOURNAMENT KIDS

        A few reflections as I look back at the past season and look ahead to signing up for a new one.  I expect to see the sign up for the new season e-mail to land in the inbox soon. Before we move up and on, a look back.  The end of my daughter's year as a Squirt could not have had a better ending.  Back to back tournament wins, champions of their Snowbelt Division and crowed champs at the Pepsi Tournament in Buffalo.  Sweet? Absolutely!  Expected?  Absolutely not!    
     During the season, the only thing consistent about our kids was their inconsistency. There were some occasional moments during games where they showed some real hunger for the puck and looked like a sharp little team. Wow, we thought, maybe.....but the next game we found ourselves shaking our heads, well, maybe not.  We witnessed loss after loss after loss. Last place in the league.  

     As we neared the end of the season, we had tempered our expectations and all decided, hey if the kids walk away from the tournament with a win or two, we'll all be happy.  We'll all be proud.  We had fun after all.  That's what it's about anyway.  As long as they try hard and do their best, right?
Well, those little stinkers finally showed up, as a team, for every single tournament game. Passing, listening, focusing...scoring!  Scoring???!!!  Wow.  As we sat around the hotel pool trying to analyze  our kids tournament performances, one parent said what we were all thinking.  So, when did the aliens visit our hotel rooms and abduct our children?  The same question could have fairly been asked about the parents.  In the stands the routine shouts of  "Pass the puck!  Skate! Move!  Go after the puck! Attack! Cover the puck!   Come on defense, wake up!!" were replaced by "Nice pass! Nice Save! Good hustle! "  Good hustle?  You're talking about our kids?  Are these the same parents? 

      We talked about our kids' transformation at our end of the season party.  As we watched them wildly gobble up handfuls of team colored M&M's and compete in a cannonball splash challenge in the hotel swimming pool, the table with the trophies  got plenty of stares in disbelief.  There they were.  Three huge tournament trophies next to the cake and pizza, side by side, a document of what our kids were all capable of achieving.  When they tried.
       Eventually parent conversations revolved around the end of the season shockers. So, what did we conclude?  " Tournament kids." Yup.  If there was a trophy and a title up or grabs, they would show up.  Pressure plus prize equals perfect performance.  Stinkers!  Can we have a season redo?

And a lesson for next season.  Don't get discouraged by those back to back season game losses.  In the end, they just may surprise you!

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