I certainly have used this space to complain about hockey a few times. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression, I really love being a coach. Today I got a great reminder of that, and words that warmed my heart.
This past weekend was a busy weekend for our team. Friday night opened Esso Minor Hockey Week, a huge city-wide tournament at almost every level hockey is played. A quick week of non-stop games, culminating in a final of two teams at every level and division. Our bantam AA schedule assured games on Friday night and Sunday. To complete the tournament we have to play every second day. In between the Friday and Sunday game, we tucked in a power Saturday. Our team hit a volunteer shift at the drop in centre for 3 hours, the boys sorting donations. After a short break in the afternoon, we reconvened at some laser tag. At the end of laser tag we did our christmas gift exchange game. At this exchange our one goalie presented us with an awesome hand-made clock, thanks Wickson!
It was a busy weekend on top of what had been a couple of weeks of dealing with mostly parent BS from our team. But on Sunday morning the negative tides changed. Tiana and I got up early to head to Edge School and watch their 15-year-old team play a game. We have a few former players on that team, kids we really liked. One of their parents (Stacey), one of my all time favourite hockey Mom’s in fact, came over and spent a lot of time talking with us. She said some really nice things and it was good to be around a positive and good hockey person for a bit. I watched the kids we worked with all play pretty good games, and was reminded of how lucky I had been to work with such great kids. We left Edge for our Sunday game feeling a little better about the rink, it was a much needed pick up.
This morning I received an e-mail from the mother of a former player. It included a lot of really awesome things her son had said about our staff. I am a tough coach, our staff demands a lot of our players and we are hard on them. We know they are better than people give them credit for and we hope to get that out of them during a season. As hard as we are on our players, we love those kids 100 times more than that. I love to see our former players succeed at all levels of the game. It makes me happy to see them at the rink excelling at their game. But we do know we are hard and I am sure we aren’t always easy to play for. The things said in the e-mail really made me feel good, it was nice that a player had positive things to say to about us. That is really all a coach wants, to know his players learned something while playing for him. I don’t think any of us care about the small stipend we get, and I really don’t stay up at nights worrying about wins and losses. But these few words really made me feel good, the best gift a coach can receive is the a player who has some positive things to say about that coach. In the middle of a bit of a long year with our current group of families, the kind words I have heard from a couple of families the last two days have really rejuvenated me for the final bit of the season. This e-mail came at the time I most needed a pick-up, the author of it will probably never know what an amazing impact it has had on me.
Thanks to the families and players of the years past, I have loved having you have an impact on my life, and I appreciate you working so hard for our team! See you around the rink!