I thought I needed to put down some thoughts on the ladies first hockey season, before it feels like it never happened.
First of all, I cannot believe the difference of the girls skills between the end of October when our season began to the last weekend of February. When we stepped onto the ice for the first practice, one of the coaches asked, “So, is this the first time they have tried skating?” Yeah, that is where we started. Sophia improved from spending approximately half of practice wallowing on the ice, rolling around claiming that this was her very last practice ever and there were some very large crocodile tears that accompanied those words. I had to wear skates for the first few games because if Sophia got too far away from the bench during her two minute shift, she would never get back to the bench in time for another girl to take her place. So when the two minute buzzer would sound I would hop over the boards, pick her up, and then skate her back to the bench. I had to do that for the first few games and then got to wear boots for the rest of the season!
The beginning of the season was a tremendous challenge for Aleah because she was not good at hockey. Aleah likes to be a high achiever and isn’t used to being at the bottom rung. During practice she was constantly glancing all around her at the other girls who were so much better than her. Many, many times she wanted to quit- to just walk away from the hard stuff. To turn her back and never return to this hard sport where everyone (besides Soph) was so much better than her. She wanted to return to the spaces she felt confident- the places where she was already excelling. But I continued to drive them the 45 minutes to hockey practice and as time wore on she became more and more confident at her skating, passing and shooting skills.
She had been trying for most of the season and I could see in her eyes how badly she wanted to shoot that puck past the goalie. While we were at a tournament in Brainerd, she scored her first goal ever. Immediately after she scored, she raised both arms up into the air and held them there for about 10 seconds. She was smiling so giant that I thought her mouth was going to reach around her head. I saw the hard work that went into that goal. I saw the tears and frustration behind those tough practices. As the head coach cheered for Aleah, he glanced over at me with tears welling up in my eyes and asked, “You going to be okay over there?” And I beamingly assured him that I was quite alright. Never better actually.
Of course we got the big game puck and will have to do something cool with it.
All in all, hockey was a wonderful experience. Yes we spent some time in the car and yes we missed a few naps, but we also learned how to work through hard stuff and to be rewarded for it.
After a practice towards the middle of the season Aleah said to me, “Hey mom. Now I know why you like hockey so much. It is because it is SO FUN!” You got it girl. Hockey is so fun and I am glad we can go down this road together.