When my son first started playing – just a summer season “to try it out” – and for the first season or more after he started playing rep. hockey I would sit alone in the stands, following him from one end to the other. I would be biting my nails or knitting furiously and trying to block out the comments from parents who were close enough to me that I could hear. I would wiggle and cringe when the puck even neared him – willing it to go the other way.
After a season of not even enjoying his games because I was holding in so much anxious energy I also realized that it’s not likely only me – when he looks over and sees me balled up in a corner hiding he likely can’t focus on what he’s suppose to be doing because he’s worried about what I’m doing!
Here comes the advice part – make it easy on yourself!
- It’s hard to hear your kid sucks – but you’re going to hear it and it has NOTHING to do with your kid.
- Watching your goalie get pulled is heart wrenching – it might be the first time but it won’t be the last.
- Making yourself part of the team means that the other parents get to know you and it is a lot harder to criticize your goalie’s every move when they know you!
- Yes there are going to be parents who just don’t get it – yep! Just like we don’t know how frustrating it is to watch your kid take 10 shots and not score once.
- Get a hobby before games – I often still knit my nerves out before my goalie is in net but once the game is on I’m there to cheer all our boys.
- Get a hobby during the games – my camera is my way to watch the game and not focus on just my kid and how he is performing.
Tonight we play in a game being dubbed “The Battle of Brantford” facing off against another Peewee team who we know, some of who we have played with before, and it is the talk of the town. Parents who don’t have kids on either team are talking about the game and how they can’t wait to watch. It’s all the things I hate about hockey, it’s pure competition, extremely contentious and while I wish that I could just not go – my kid is in net. None of the above advice applies to a game where you know the kids, you know the parents, your kid is in net, and no one is going to settle for a loss. This might need a follow-up post to let you know the new advice when I figure it out – for now I’m thinking hide in the corner and try and get out alive.