One of the greatest battles as a hockey parent is being truly objective about your child’s skills. When my son was trying out for the AAA team, I really felt that he had a good chance to make the team. My husband kept reminding me that there was a lot of competition out there and nothing is for sure until the final meeting with the coach.
I ignored his cautious outlook because I had done my homework. I had watched the other goalies and knew their stats inside and out. As a non-athlete, non-coach, and as someone who had never put on goalie pads in my life – I was sure I had it all figured out because as the Mom – I knew best! You can see where this is going. The other thing I had in my favour was the fact that my family members would come and watch my son play. When I asked what they thought, they would always tell me how much he had improved. Can you imagine telling a Hockey Mama Bear any different! The truth was that I only ever asked people that I knew would give me the answer I wanted to hear. That was, until my son got cut and I asked my husband why. He let me know his very honest opinion loud and clear.
I dedicated one of the lessons in my book to his advice…
“Nobody else watches our children with the insight that we have as parents, and thank God for that! There isn’t an ice surface big enough to hold the hockey team and the moms in case our child needs us. Nobody in the rink knows that our child has had a bad night, isn’t feeling well, or has their first broken heart. I have news for you; when a game goes into overtime nobody else cares. Remind yourself when your son or daughter steps on the ice that he or she needs to do their best, whatever they are going through, because that’s the expectation that the Coaches are going to have. If he or she plays terribly, feed them when they get home and give them a hug, but don’t expect the coach or spectators to have the same sympathy for your young player. That’s why you’re the Mom.
I remember asking my husband if he felt our son had what it took to go far in hockey. He replied, “I don’t know, and I’m not the right one to ask. That’s how parents get disappointed. We aren’t objective enough to make that call.” At the time it irritated me, but he was right. No matter how objective I thought I was as his mom, trust me, I wasn’t.”
So, if your child gets cut or isn’t getting the ice time you think they should be, ask an expert – just make sure you’re not related. The strengths you want to foster and know inside and out is what kind of human being they are. That should be your area of expertise, let the coaches do the rest. Trust me, there is a great sense of relief when you leave it up to the experts.
– Written by Allyson Tufts