Of all the parenting milestones, I think I just hit a big one. My son started ice hockey this year and I think it may be almost as exciting for me as it is for him. I have this emotional reaction to watching him get geared up, walk along the rubber mats to the ice, carefully step over the threshold, and find his balance before getting into practice. He works so hard and is so committed to improving that, as sappy as it sounds, it actually made me tear up a bit the first time I watched.
I have been out of minor hockey since I entered Bantam and took a U-turn to spend more time skiing. Up until then, hockey had been my life. From mini hockey on the carpet in the living room, road hockey with my buddies pretending to be my boyhood idol Wayne Gretzky or Guy LaFleur, all the way to my first job when I was 13 working at Crazy Benny’s New and Used Sporting Goods. Canadian hockey culture is in my blood.
So when we walked into Cyclone Taylor Sports to get Kesler his gear, memories of suiting up for my first season came flooding back. He looked so small walking in the door and down aisles of pads, jerseys, gloves and bags. It’s hard to believe I was ever that size. But I do remember the feeling, holding that first stick in your hands and feeling big enough to play on the NHL. I don’t mean to be sentimental but when you start to re-live your childhood through your kids similar experiences, it puts into perspective the stage of life you are at.
Rebecca volunteered me to be an assistant coach and to see my sons eyes light up when he heard that I would be on the ice with him was priceless. “When are you gonna be my teacher Dad?” when he wakes up in the morning, “Today?” every day. But I’ve got hours of homework and training to do before qualifying to coach…didn’t see that coming.
Hockey and skiing are the first two experiences that my son and I have had together that I think we relate to on another level, not just a Dad playing with their kid to entertain them but… like buddies. Pretty cool stuff, and, I guess, I’m not afraid to tear up over it.