Sunday, March 25, 2012

Raising a Loser

We've reached the end of our inaugural hockey season, save for a friendship tournament next weekend, our league play is done. Yesterday was a disappointing finish for the kids and this morning you could hear the confusion over their placing. I can't blame them I am also incredibly confused. Our team finish on top of the standings for the playoffs but we won't be playing in the final game because we lost our very first playoff game yesterday. The only game apparently that counted for the series.

I swear I will never understand this stuff, but the Dads who do understand the logistics of round robin play have been busy explaining and reassuring kids that yes, while it makes no sense and seems incredibly unfair it is how everything plays out.

So we lost, and that's okay, or at least that's what we say to the kids, you played hard, you had fun, you did your best. - what a crock, nobody likes to lose, it's not okay. be sad, talk about it, be disappointed, wallow...and get over it, you've got exactly 10 minutes.

I'll give you 10 minutes then we're going to talk about the journey.

Let's celebrate the kids who very literally could not even skate when the season kicked off, and the kids who could not pass the puck. How about those first half a dozen games where you got your butts whooped over and over again, those were fun. Not as much fun as the very first game you won maybe, but they were a place of great learning. What about your favourite moments of the season, lets talk about those; the string of wins, the Christmas Tournament that ended in shoot-out madness, the game at the OHL arena where they announced your names and pumped rally tunes. Those were favourite memories. How about the time your goalie had to leave the ice and you played empty netted for almost a full period and denied the other team a single goal...that was awesome! I personally really enjoyed watching the camaraderie grow. In the beginning the locker room was a quiet, sterile place, months later parents are lined up in the hallway wondering if you are ever going to quit goofing around and emerge.

So yes, I know losing sucks and the way you lost your place in the standings seems unfair and you are disappointed. You also played your best because great volunteers who spent their Saturdays and Sundays  for the last 6 months taught you never to give less. You did have fun because you played with your friends. You fought hard for that loss - you were after all playing to win.

Mostly, you've won so much more than you've lost, it's hard to see right now but I promise it is something you can be proud and happy with!

Gratitude to the coaches, the time keepers, parent taxis, convenors, coffee barristas, Zamboni drivers, the good sports and the referees. Gratitude to all parents across the Hockey Nation this week who are 'raising' losers - it can be hard to remind them that there is no such thing - Well Played!