Saturday, July 7, 2012

Art of Victory and Defeat

We are in Mississauga this weekend for the OBHA Provincials. This is very exciting, the last time we were in Mississauga for a hockey event E got to work the defense gate, benched with a major concussion, so he is very grateful to be out on the floor running with the team this time around.

Game one was an exercise in the team getting their bearings. There were some really good plays and some very great passes, the goalie made some extraordinary saves but mostly there was a great many 'one man teams' trying to win the game, to our downfall. 5-3 was the score for game one.

First face-off of the tournament for E
Between game one and two Mike, E and I grabbed a pizza to supplement our packed picnic and headed to a shady spot to enjoy a relax and some downtime. I especially love these reflective moments when Mike talks with E about his strengths and weaknesses from a game, they have a real routine built around hockey. Mike asks "what was your favourite thing about that game? and he asks what do you think needed some work?" E always answers with the same observations Mike comments to me in the stands and I am impressed with his game comprehension. Everything I know about hockey I learn from these conversations. I also learned today that "Mom you probably shouldn't shout out, you really don't know what to say when, maybe just leave it to Dad." This is especially comical because 'Dad' doesn't know how to shout. We are a doomed cheering squad.  After game one E was happy with his positioning, the reason behind his assist and two goals.

On to game two, a hard fought match up Kitchener vs. Cambridge which comes with a Hometown vs. Hometown rivalry. The game was phenomenal! Our teams so evenly matched that there was not a goal scored until 10 minutes left in the game. First goal to Kitchener. The stands erupted with a final break in tension! How there are not more heart events in spectator stands is beyond comprehension, I think I actually saw one dad's throbbing temple vein collapse.With that goal I thought to myself it took 20 minutes for someone to get one in the net, with only 10 minutes left could we get it back? We did, within minutes E popped one in off a well played team passing rally; Tied! Six minutes left in play and our team is dealt a devastating call by refs, even the opposing team questioned it; a penalty shot for pulling down a breakaway. Whatever, it was a bad call, everyone knew it, even the ref I'm sure. What a horrible way to lose a game two teams worked so hard for. The penalty shot found it's hole and Kitchener was up 2-1. It deflated everyone. One final empty net goal at 30 second left in play and defeat was confirmed.

Emerging from the dressing room after the game were tired disappointed kids from our team. The source of their disappointment not the loss, but the unsportsman like conduct demonstrated in the closing handshake line where a member of the opposing team called each boy a 'Bitch' or an 'Asshole' as he bumped their glove. *sigh* and I am reminded again how hard parents and coaches need to work to teach, demonstrate and hold their kids up to high moral standards in sport. It was an incredibly unfortunate end to a game 30 kids can be proud of. I'm not even sure what the answer is to this behaviour, it seems impervious to eradication.

Except by acts of the opposite, like the father from the winning team who stopped us with his son in the hallway on our way out of the building and said to E "Awesome game! your team really gave us a hard fight, it could have gone either way, anybody's game to win really, well played, you guys can be very proud!"

Gratitude to you Hockey Dad...for showing two boys what good sportsmanship looks like!

On to game three and four today, new day, new games, new picnic new chances to play our best again. I think I like hockey tournaments even if I shout cluelessly.

Enjoy your Saturday, encourage good conduct and share some smiles.