“We are defined by the labels we give ourselves and in 2003, as I sat in Centennial Arena for the very first time on a cold, early, Saturday morning…I became a hockey mom. I have a handful of games left. Possibly a few more if we do well in playoffs. Even more if we do so well that we make it to Provincials. Less if he ends up hurt or suspended. Thirteen years after the very first time I sat in that rink…when I had no idea what I was in for…my days are numbered and it chokes at my heart more than I can possibly begin to explain.” Colleen O’Dea lives in Halifax and recently wrote about her time as a “Hockey Mom” coming to an end. It immediately brought me back to my playing days, seeing my Mom in the stands, Dad behind the bench and gave me a little insight into how me playing probably changed their lives.
“I have the first years on re-play. The early weekend mornings as he’d pull on his gear before we left the house…his Toronto Maple Leafs pyjamas underneath…the wrinkles of the pillow still on his baby face as he’d buckle his helmet while waiting for his skates to be tied. I recall the moments of sitting with the other moms as we’d watch them moving along the ice in a huddle as if the puck had magnetic powers that pulled them tightly in.”
“There were many times I complained….whether it was about money, being unable to warm up or lack of time. Moments that I was angry over the hockey gear left in the hall or spread out in my living room to dry. There were times I’ve wondered what the point of it all was. Moment’s when I thought it would be best if he just gave it up. Multiple times I wanted a Saturday night where I wasn’t in a rink…a Christmas that I wasn’t at a tournament…a vacation that didn’t involve gear.”
“This next few weeks, I’ll try to keep the tears at bay as it’s coming to an end. For him, hockey will continue. He’ll find a group of players to spend a Friday night at the rink and have a little fun but for me…the days of sitting in the rink and planning my schedule around practices and games are over. The days of picking up my father to grab a cup of tea and sit on our wool blanket in a cold rink…are done. My parenting him through the hockey trials are over. The “vacations” in the various motels and cottages while the parents enjoy one another’s company and the kids play mini-stick and giggle into the night…done.” I
If you’ve been through any of this, the rest of the blog is definitely worth a read, you can find it here
Since it’s #TBT … here’s me back in my playing days!