It’s Over….

It’s over, hell week has finally come to an end.  This year it truly lived up to it’s rightfully earned moniker of hell week.  But hey just like Britney Spears survived 2007, we survived the week.  Honestly, last week left most of us hockey parents feeling as dirty as Callahan did after Marchand licked his face in game 4. (If you’re not a hockey fan, let me get you up to date: ESPN – Marchand licks Callahan.)  Marchand, the NHL’s most villified played, perfectly personifies the douchebaggery that occurs during hell week.  

Let me also add one ailment to the list of ailments that could develop during hell week: the cold sore.  While I didn’t experience this personally, it was experienced by a few of my fellow hockey moms this week.  I guess that means we need to add one more medicine to the cabinet in anticipation of hell week next year.

Now that the adrenaline is starting to calm and our collective S. Florida hockey community is moving forward into next season, what’s next?    Oh you know I’ve got a list for that…

  • New Equipment Shopping!  This is a great time of year to start picking up equipment for the following season.  Hockey sites, like PureHockey.com, Hockey Monkey and Hockey Giant run spectacular sales this time of year.  Pure Hockey is currently running a great sale on Bauer Skates.  With Bauer Senior N8000 skates marked down 40% and Bauer’s S180 skates are currently 25% off.

Bauer Supreme S180 Ice Hockey Skates [Senior]

Bauer Supreme S180 Ice Jockey Skates [Junior]

Bauer Nexus N8000 Ice Hockey Skates [Senior]

  • Focus on you.  That’s right hockey mom/day, it is okay to focus on you for a bit right now.  You just spent a week in hell fighting for your kids, fighting to stay away at work and fighting to get through it all.  It is time to do you!  I enjoy yoga, but that’s not for everyone.  Take some time to read a good book, drink a great brew, start training for your own fitness goal or chill beachside.  Either way as long as you’re feeding your soul, you can’t go wrong.   As for me, I’m headed to Barnes and Noble to pick up yet another book I probably won’t finish.

Barnes & Noble – Explore Barnes & Noble’s Coupons & Deals!

1mp5lb

  • Remember regardless of where your kids end up, it’s all about them.  As long as they’re happy and excited to play the game we all love, that is all that matters.  The rest of it, especially the schmucks don’t really matter.  Move on gracefully and enjoy the ride.

As for us, we’re excited for both of our boys.  Next year they’ll be joining the Floria Junior Panthers organization.  Each season they’ve played has brought them to this point, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all the coaches they’ve had before for getting them to his point.  Now it’s time to go chill in my yoga silk and let the weight of the last week fall off my shoulders.

 

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The worst week of the year….

Cue the Pepto, Tums, Maalox, Cîroc and Xanax as tryout season is here.  Arguably the worst 2-3 week period of the year for any travel hockey parent (or any sports parent for that matter.) Starting tomorrow, the tryouts will go 5 days straight across the three major programs in Broward and Palm Beach County.   In the end, I’m sure it will work out okay, but the period of weeks and weeks of not knowing can be excruciating.  Truly even if it is over in hours or days, those hours and days are eternal as is the accompanying heartburn.

So here are my tips for surviving tryout season after 6 plus years of living it:

  • Have a plan: where will you tryout and why?
  • What’s the most important factor in choosing a team or organization to you as a parent?
  • What’s the most important factor in choosing a team or organization for your player?
  • If you have multiple kids in multiple age groups, figure out the car pool situation.
  • Manage your own expectations (work in progress over here.)
  • Manage your kid’s expectations
  • Pre-load your medicine cabinet with a nice accouterments of antacids and acid reducers
  • Breakout the yoga music and Enya music to get your Namaste on. It will help, I swear….
  • Brownies, chocolate chip cookies and Neuhaus truffles are the perfect treats to help deal with the anxious moments
  • If room temp or fresh out of the oven isn’t your style, then Ben and Jerry’s is a solid alternative to the items listed in the bullet above.
  • Blare Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and sing at the top of your lungs while on the 95 or  the Turnpike.

At the end of the day, tryouts will always remain a grueling marathon for the players, families and most assuredly the coaches.

Hard work on and off the ice leading up to tryouts is the best way to setup our players for tryout success.    Herb Brooks said it best “Success is won by those who believe in winning and prepare for that moment.”  The stakes for all of us are a bit lower than they were for the legendary coach, but I’d be lying if I said it tryout season, even with proper preparation, wasn’t tough.  The worst possible outcome for our kids is that they will not make the team of their dreams, but this too presents an opportunity for the player.

herbbrooks

Our oldest did not make the travel team, the first three years he tried out.  We never ran interference to get him on a team.  Instead we told him that if playing travel hockey was his goal, he would need to work.   And work he did.  He worked incredibly hard and made the travel team as first year U-16A player.   His team that year wasn’t strong, but he didn’t care.  He was thrilled with the opportunity to play and continued working to get better.  His second season in U-16A was one of the most incredible seasons of travel hockey we have ever played (between the 3 kids we’ve logged 13 seasons.)  His coaches (Coach Frenchy, Coach Dan and Coach Mike), his team, and his  teammates were outstanding!

His last season of youth hockey, he worked his tail off for his team, his coaches and himself.  That Hawks team had the most incredible synergy that I have ever seen in youth hockey.  They played for each other, not for themselves.  The result?  An undefeated season in league play and a state championship banner.  While it may have taken him longer to get into the travel hockey than he wanted, but his achievements were completely his own.  He got their because of his hard work.   This spring he will graduate high school and then off to college.  His experience in hockey is one that he will always draw on because it is an example of where his hard work and dedication help him achieve his goal.

There is nothing wrong with learning resilience and persistence in youth sports except for when it’s your child…  I couldn’t be prouder of Jacob, but each spring he didn’t make a team got tougher.   As hard as it was to watch, it was the kind of experience that builds character and life skills way beyond the hockey rink.   So if you see me or any other S. Florida hockey parent double fisting coffee and Pepto this week don’t worry, we’ll be okay once tryout season is over.

Best of luck to all the players, coaches and families this week!

P.S.  Notice I said okay, not normal.  We’ll never be normal…..

P.S.S.  Hockey families – do you have any tryout rituals or superstitions in your family?  If so, share in the comments.