We are well into the thick of this crazy season, and some folks are seemingly getting a bit restless. It’s one thing to hear there will be a few extra guys on the roster, but it is another to live it. For those players not seeing much game time, or none at all it starts to mess with their heads.
They start thinking that they deserve more playing time than they are getting. Then they start embellishing stories to their parents about how awful things are saying things like the coach hates them or their teammates hate them or how so-and-so got to play even though they broke this rule or that one. Soon, the parents start getting annoyed because they’re believing their player, and maybe they’re getting annoyed at watching game after game of other kids playing. Pretty soon the parent or player is looking for another team to move to, trying to find that “better” opportunity.
There is no magical utopian hockey team out there, especially this year. Probably not next season either. Chances are pretty good the situation on that other team is the same or worse than where you are now. Chances are also pretty good most of what parents are hearing from their players is embellished, and most of what players perceive as slights or injustices are them taking something personally that wasn’t directed at them. Chances are also pretty good that players know which buttons to push to get a reaction out of their parents or to get what they want (or think they want).
I’m not saying there aren’t situations in which a move would be good for a player because there are, but I am saying that my kid knows exactly which buttons to push to get me going if I don’t immediately agree with him, and I know I am not alone in that. I am saying that sometimes as parents, we need to take a step back and let them flounder a little bit so they can learn how to handle it. Lots of these kids have had to make the jump from being the big fish in a little pond to being the little fish in a big pond, and it can be a shock to the system. It’s also a crazy year with extra stressors all the way around.
I remember my own moment like that very well. I was a nerdy kid who never had to study for anything in school. It just came to me easily until I had to take a 400 level French class in college after only 2 years of French to graduate on time. I can picture that F on that first exam just as clearly as if it were still the 90s. I was absolutely terrified because I knew a 10-page term paper was coming later on in that class, and if I couldn’t even pass the first test, how on earth was I going to write a paper? I didn’t know how to study because I never had to do it. I spent that entire semester in a state of constant panic.
Now I can’t even remember what grade I got, but I remember crying in my professor’s office begging him for some other alternative to that class so I could keep my French minor, but he wouldn’t allow it and made me stay in the class. I was miserable, and I hated him for it at the time, but at the end of the semester, he told me he knew I was disappointed in my grade, but my French had improved tremendously, and he was proud of my progress. I got through it because I had no choice but to carry on and just keep trying.
As it turns out, I would need those skills a few more times in my life, but if I had been given the opportunity to move to a different class, I would have jumped at the chance. I wanted to run. There are a lot of hockey players out there wanting to run, too.
My French class experience wasn’t great, but it was what I had to do at the time. The hockey situation isn’t great right now, but we’re stuck with it. You have to figure out a way to make the best of the situation because the alternative is not being on a team at all. There is nowhere to run.
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