Monday, December 31, 2018
In a tightly contested game as things were coming down to the wire, it dawned on us.
“Hey, uh.. Where’s our kid?”
As we edged closer to the ends of our seats and tensed up with every shot on net, it wasn’t obvious at first. But after every whistle or stoppage of play, it was the first line trotting out to the drop of the puck. As winded as they seemed, it became clear to us that they would be the ones to see this game through to its conclusion.
Welcome to travel hockey. Gone were the days of equal playing time for all, the “fun at all costs” mentality was a thing of the past. We were here to get the win, and the coach would do whatever it took to put the team in a position to do so.
Perhaps it was our ego that got bruised more than our kids. Not only did they roll with the punches, they punched back, stepping up their game and eventually working to becoming that players the coach counted on for penalty kills and tight end of game scenarios.
Every parent wants their child to get as much as time as any other kid, and in the early stages, they should. Making players better is the name of the game and that is achieved through maximizing ice time. As players age and the emphasis on winning grows, that equal division of the ice time pie falls by the wayside.
Syracuse, NY hockey mom Lauren Knapp says sometimes you need to work on changing attitudes and telling their kids, ”Don't get bitter, get better. Show the coach you care and are willing to do what it takes to get that playing time."
Monica Hudak Headley is on the same page, "When my son doesn't think he's getting equal ice time, I have him ask the coach what he wants my son to work on. This way it's not whining about not getting enough ice time, it's showing the coach you want to do better."
At the end of the day, not everyone can be on the ice to close out a game and not every player wants the immense pressure that comes with those situations. Often times, our players have a greater understanding of this than we do as parents. They put the team first and know late in the game, it’s just as important to be there to cheer for their teammates. The best thing we can do is cheer right along with them.