Managing The Bench – Life At The Rink, The Fifth Season 

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It’s a good thing I love hockey so much

We missed Monday’s practice because we were out of town at a funeral. But this week has more than made up for that lost time. 

We returned home on Wednesday. Wednesday night MM had a hockey game. Early Friday morning, Lil Man had practice before school. Friday night I worked at the local WHL game. And now here we are, Saturday at the rink again. 

Have you seen the ScotiaBank commercials about “the fifth hockey season”? They make it look all cute and admirable and enjoyable. 

As a mother of a kid in his fifth season, let me tell you about the reality of it. The fifth season is a rude awakening. It is the beginning of 5am practices before school and evening practices before bed. It’s games on weekends and a hell of a lot more travelling. It’s constantly having a bag packed because you know you’ll be travelling somewhere at least once a week. 

Yes, the kids get to pick their numbers and their positions, but it’s not as exciting as it seems. Especially when your kid wants to play a certain position or pick a certain number but can’t. That’s just a fight waiting to happen. And then you, as a parent, have to deal with the disappointment that seems to last for weeks. 

The fifth season is full of whining to get out of bed, complaining that they don’t have time to play with their friends, and over-scheduling everything

It’s no makeup, wet hair, and sometimes even a lack of showering before hitting the rink because you just didn’t have the time or the energy. It’s forgetting water bottles, it’s smelly equipment, and it’s coaches that mystify me because they’re more awake than the kids. 

On the other hand…

It’s a different level of hockey than before. Gone are the days of adorable kids. In their place are kids who are productive, kids who join together as a team, and kids who understand their specific role on and off the ice. 

It looks more like actual hockey instead of a group of kids chasing a puck all over the ice. It’s more organized and methodical. It’s real competition. It’s pride in the faces of kids who know they’ve done their best and they’ve earned the win. It’s raw sadness and disappointment when they suffer a loss. It’s watching your kid become a well-rounded little person through all the ups and downs. 

Today was that day. After three weeks of practices, we watched our kids play hard in their first game of the season, outwardly saying, “it’s not whether you win or lose…” but deep down saying silent prayers that we win. 

Congrats to our minor hockey team, the Bandits, on their first big 7-5 win of the season! 

And stick taps to the coaching staff who have worked hard to help these kids have fun and learn something productive. 

The fifth season is a whole new world of hockey. 

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