Managing The Bench – Raising Our Kids Right

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This season, the nasty parents (the overly competitive ones who think their nine year olds will make the NHL next season) are gone from house league hockey. In their place are parents who want their kids to have fun while learning the game. We cheer from the sidelines and try not to focus on the losses. We have just as much fun in the stands as the kids have on the ice. 

So this weekend shouldn’t have been a surprise when a lesson turned into something even more magical. 

Coaches are coaches – they have a certain way of doing things and they’re mostly understanding and supportive of the kids. But when the kids complaining gets to be too much too often, even the best of coaches can get annoyed. Which is exactly what happened this weekend. 

A few of the kids were complaining about their positions on ice. The defense was complaining because they wanted a chance at offense and vice versa. The coaches tried to explain that each position is important and they try to put the kids in the position that is best suited to them. The kids didn’t understand because, until this season, they have always had the chance to try new positions. They didn’t understand that in their fifth year they find their positions permanently. So they kept on complaining. Some of them even whined about it. 

Naturally, the head coach had had enough and decided to teach them a lesson. In the third period, with a close score in the game, the coach switched up every kid’s position. All the defensive players were put in forward positions and vice versa. The coach was hoping to show the kids that they were in their positions for a reason, that they were the most productive because of where the coach placed them on ice. 

The kids lost the game by a score of 17-5. To us parents in the stands, the lesson was learned. But to the kids on the bench, something else happened. 

The kids didn’t see what the parents and coaches saw. They didn’t see the score of 17-5. They didn’t see that their transition to different positions was hard. They didn’t see the forwards hanging back at the blue line and the defense attacking the oppositions zone. They didn’t see the lesson that was being taught. 

Instead of learning what the coach was trying to prove, they taught the parents that it’s okay to switch things up and try a change once in a while. And they did it with grace and dignity. 

After the first horrendous shift, one of the girls who was playing defense turned to one of the boys who was placed on wing and said, “you did awesome when you shot that puck at their net from the blue line! Maybe next time I’ll pass it to you if you stand in front of the net and wait for it. I’m sure you’ll get the goal if you’re closer to the net.” 

One of the boys who ended up in the penalty box for slashing was feeling awful about himself, but another player said, “don’t feel bad because I did the same thing the first time I played defense. Next time, instead of slashing the other players stick, just use your stick to hold his stick on the ice, then they can’t call you for slashing.” 

Our kids, who didn’t see that the coach was trying to show the importance of their own positions, didn’t complain about the game. Instead, they encouraged each other and helped each other to do better because they were happy to get what they asked for. Instead of being angry over a blowout loss, they were happy to have had a change. 

That’s what I love about house league hockey – it’s not always about winning. It’s about supporting each other, learning new things, and encouraging everyone to do their best. 

Even though they lost the game by a big margin, the moral victory still stands. And that’s not something you would ever find at tier II hockey, where they’re expected to be NHL-ready at age 10. 

Ensuite Renovation, Day 1 

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I AM SO HAPPY THEY’RE HERE! 

Have I mentioned that I’m really happy that these renos have started?? Well, I am. 

And I have the best contractor. He’s someone I trust and, even though I’m not around a lot, I know he’ll be fine to work on his own. He texts me if he has questions and I know he won’t walk off with a bunch of my belongings. 

He’s also been a friend of mine since high school. He’s done all my renovations in the past few years and I love his work. Have I mentioned that he has a great sense of humour?? Because he does. And we get along really well. Always have. 

Ok, I’ll stop bragging him up and get on with the renovations. 

They opened the shower to find that there was no base included in the packaging. Good start. But I called my hardware store guy, Pete (you might remember his name from one of my earlier updates when I ranted about everything that was wrong with this house and how I got fucking hosed), and Pete told me there was a box with my name on it in the back room. I crossed my fingers and hoped it was the base of my shower. And it was! Woohoo! That could have been a really bad situation if I had to order another base. 

So my contractor and the guys who work for him installed the fan above the shower before the base showed up, so it’s not like they were standing around doing nothing while I went back to the hardware store. The fan is so quiet! The old one sounded like a freight train was about to come through the wall. And MM surprised me by getting a Bluetooth ceiling fan, which means I can have music streaming into my shower! So damn cool. 

Honestly, it’s not too bad of a start. A couple of minor things went wrong but they were easily fixed. I’m fully expecting a few more major issues along the way because I’m a realist. But at least my renos have started. And, for now, I have a smile on my face.