Managing The Rink – Why??? 

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It’s been a shitty season. I’ve effectively gone numb and thrown in the proverbial towel. 

Working at the rink has its ups and downs. Lately, it’s mostly downs. People are nasty and entitled and they don’t hesitate to show it to the world. 

At work last night, I politely explained to a man-child that he wasn’t allowed to take his beer outside of the arena, to which he didn’t listen. Three god damn times. 

So when he walked back inside the building the last time with his beer in his hands, I got mad. And I yelled at him that the next time he didn’t listen to the rules of the rink, he would not be allowed back inside. 

I thought I was being quite intimidating as a look of dread washed over his face. Then I realized one of the security guards was standing right behind me, backing me up. Whatever, I didn’t mind because the man-child didn’t cause any more problems for me that evening. 

And then there’s minor hockey and all it’s problems…

Atom hockey is quite a change from Novice. In Novice, we had two day weeks. In Atom, we’re on the ice at least five days a week. It’s a lot to get used to. But we did it and only missed one game because my son came down with the flu. 

This weekend is the final home tournament of the season and the end of Atom hockey for the year. Thank god! It’s hard enough managing the excessive schedule, but it’s a lot harder managing the bickering and bitching among the adults. 

Our coach is all about winning. He was given a set of rules at the beginning of the year and he didn’t pay attention to any of them. So I was blind-sided when other parents and coaches confronted me about this because I didn’t know. I wasn’t at the coaches meeting and I had no clue that our team was under strict orders when it came to goaltending. Because our coach made a bad call in ignoring these guidelines, our team was scarred for the rest of the season. And we only won three games. I hope the coach learned something from this. But probabaly not because…minor hockey. 

As our team was getting ready to take the ice one day, I was watching another Atom team during their practice before us. During a break, a coach I know from that team came up to me to chat. He explained that this season was lopsided and not fair for some teams and he blamed it all on one other coach. I blatantly replied that an entire season of losses can’t be blamed on one coach. 

He pushed his agenda, complaining more and more about the coach that “stole the best goalie and ruined the season for everyone else.” I explained that he, himself, was at the coaches meeting and should have said something if it had bothered him so much, to which he stumbled over his words, trying to find an excuse why this wasn’t his fault. What I really felt like saying was, “shut up. Just shut up.” 

Most recently, after some drama in our coaching room during a weekend away, our coaching staff was divided. The head coach made decisions that didn’t sit well with some of the other assistant coaches. Ok, honestly, it didn’t sit well with any of the other coaches. 

The point is that coaching on our team was like watching a train wreck about to happen. It was ugly. There were nasty phone calls, texts, and hurtful words exchanged. Our coaching was in disarray. 

The following weekend, when we played against a hometown team, I sat with hockey parents from the other team because I’m friends with them. I had barely gotten comfortable in my seat when I was peppered with questions about the drama between our coaches. 

I was nice about it to begin with but, when they wouldn’t stop asking stupid questions, I finally explained that it was none of my business, let alone anyone else’s. What happens among our team, stays among our team and I won’t be part of the gossip. And then I took my shit and left the stands. 

I sat by myself in the lobby and watched the game from a distance because I didn’t want anyone else asking questions that I wasn’t comfortable answering. 

Every damn weekend some kind of parental drama goes on behind the scenes and it’s pathetic. I refuse to be part of it. 

This season has been a complete write-off for me. I’m done with the gossip of small minds and the bad decisions by the head coach. I’m done with the assholes who don’t listen and the ones who can’t see past their own ignorance. 

For me, it’s all about the kids. It always has been. The petty, dramatic, nosy parents need to back up, take a deep breath, and realize that this isn’t about them. It’s about the kids. 

So now I spend a lot of time alone at the rink because I don’t want to be part of the parental idiocy. I’m the outcast, the snotty mom, and the mom who isn’t part of the team because I don’t give a shit about what’s going on behind the scenes. 

I’m the mom giving high-fives to all the kids on their way out of the dressing rooms and telling each kid they did a great job in spite of the score. Because that’s what this is about – having fun and learning about the game. 

I love hockey. I love watching the kids play hockey. I love the smiles on their faces when they make a good play and the confidence they have from being part of a team. I look forward to sitting around the lobby eating burgers and chatting with the kids about their favourite parts of the games. 

As I watch the huddle of parents bitching and complaining on the other end of the lobby, I’m one of the only parents among the throng of kids who are talking with their mouths full because they can’t wait to tell me about something that excites them. The kids anticipation about the next game, the goal they scored, the great save by the goalies, and the good-natured fun of playing against a friend on an opposing team – THIS is what hockey is about to me. This is my fun. 

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