Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Hockey Hero

We have finally hit that magical age of five, meaning that interested kids can start playing organized hockey on a rink. Kaelen has been chomping at the bit to partake in hockey for 4 years now; basically ever since he could walk he has had a hockey stick in his hands. He has played in hundreds of Stanley Cup finals, taken thousands of game winning shoot out attempts and has even battled the toughest goon on a team (aka Daddy).

Last Monday (Oct 5th) was an exciting day for all of us: for Kaelen, it was his glory moment of being part of a team and for Mom and Dad, the excitement and anticipation to laugh while watching our son fulfilling a dream. We are, determined NOT to be one of those parents that push our child into something that they don't want to do, nor are we going to yell and scream in competitive spirit for our son to do better or that he is failing, or another child is.

What greeted us last Monday was surprise. We were very surprised to see that all but 3 of the children on the team knew how to skate with surprising skill, that the first practice out had organized skills and that there was not a lot of laughter from our son. He lasted a whole 30 minutes before melting down. Why was he melting down? It was because he felt frustrated and left out. Left out because those 3 children on the team, who did not know how to skate were literally left out during the drills. By the time those 3 kids made it down to one end of the ice, the rest of the team was back at the other end doing a new drill. And, to Kaelen's credit, despite his melt downs, he did improve his skating skills significantly during the 1 1/2 hour practice. Yes 1 1/2 hours for 5 year olds. Am I the only one surprised by this? Anyways, he went from barely standing on skates to actually pushing off and gliding a little before falling.

And despite having mixed feelings already about this hockey thing, I can't help but be so proud of my son. After a good night sleep, he got up the next morning determined that he is going to play hockey and get better skating. He is determined to improve his skating so he can be like his hockey hero, Kevin Bieksa (who play for the Vancouver Canucks). He may feel left out, but he got over that with determination to try again. You can't ask for more in a child once they are discouraged.

So, this coming Monday is our second practice. I wonder what it will bring and if the practice will be structured differently to include all skill levels of the children on the team. Regardless, we will cheer for our son, be there to wipe his tears of frustration and love him for trying.


Ellen said...

I'm such a wimp, I'm bawling at the end of your post - I feel just as bad for your son as he felt for himself.. mind you I am one of those people that like to know how to do something before going to class and learning it :) messed up I know! Although I must say that I loved the true grit and determination of your son! You should be so proud!! (although I do find it a bit crazy that 5 yr old hockey is already that competitive in skills and that long!!) All the best and can't wait to hear more updates in Kaelan's progress!

Lesley said...

OMG he looks so grown up in his hockey gear!!!

JT has some skating ability but mostly just from skating around the frozen water fountain down the street and Alex has zip, zero, nada and absolutely no interest in learning how to skate. I'm okay with that.

Hockey is definitely competitive from an early age. 1.5 hours of practise just seems to be a lot in my mind. The boys had an hour of karate and that seemed to be almost too much. At 8 years for JT it doesn't seem to be enough though...there's got to be a happy medium somewhere, isn't there?

Allie said...

Lesley - we giggled our pants off when Kaelen was all dressed up. He looks so huge and because he is tall, he looks like a monster out on the ice amongst the other kids.

Ellen - I am so proud of Kaelen. In the past, it has always been easy for him to become discouraged in doing things especially because he is so sensitive too. But, he truly has a passion for hockey so I guess that passion is what is driving him right now to try it again.

And girls: we just got notification that the team was invited to a hockey tournament on Nov 14th. Can you believe that? It won't even be a month into the season and already they are wanting these kids to go in tournaments. We said no, because we felt that Kaelen was no where near the ability to even think of a tournament. The other parents however I think are pressing forward.

I am just struggling with this whole thing. I am all for competition and all, but this is supposed to be a first year experience for these kids. What happened to fostering desire and taking the time to show kids the proper way to do things? Perhaps we are just nerds or something ....

Jenn said...

Wow, that does seem intense. Tournaments, hour and a half practices. But good for Kaelen and his determination.


Goofball said...

he looks so adorable in his outfit.

Stef is enrolled in korfball at the moment but they are not nearly close to any competition. They just practise playfully to use the ball and do some drills. He seems to enjoy himself

Amber said...

Sigh. This just makes me happy. I was seriously looking at our rec center's skating lessons just last week. Can't wait to get my kiddos involved but why does hockey have to be so expensive?!