I am a hockey mom. And like so many of the hockey mom’s I know this title brings with it a mix of fatigue and pure joy. We wear the number of trips to the rink each week and how far we travel for tournaments like a badge of honour. We are one uppers, but no one wants to win. You think 6 times a week is a lot, try 10! Ten-try 12! You went to London-we did Windsor. Windsor you say? Try Ottawa. The more kids we have in hockey, the more we live at the rink. I sometimes think about what it would be like if our kids wanted to bowl instead. Or do ballet. Or if we had stopped at 1 kid. Or 2. Or 3. And then I remember the feeling of watching a great defensive play or a hat trick. My hand banging on the smooth glass. And I thank the hockey gods and promise to never want them to be bowlers again.
Hockey moms commiserate with each other and cautiously ask “how did it go” during try outs. We can give each other a glance and know instinctively whether it was a good game or one we would rather not talk about. Being a hockey mom is so Canadian-we complain about it like we complain about the weather. Come April, we are secretly happy to lose a tournament so our Sunday’s are free. By August the longing for the rink, hot coffee and warm boots begins to seep into our bones. We joke with our fellow hockey moms on other teams that we will see each other again at the end of the season.
We post photos on Instagram and Facebook. We know that if there is only one post the tournament probably hasn’t ended with gold. No one misses the photo op. We hashtag #hockeymom #hockey #hockeygirl #hockeylife #hockeyboy in case someone can’t figure out we are at hockey. Again.
There are few things that bring me more joy than watching the kids play a sport they and an entire nation love. It doesn’t matter if they are 7 or 17. House League or Rep. When the home team hits the ice, the game is on. And while I long to travel to far away lands, from September to April I am generally only travelling from rink to rink. Gateway, Mohawk, Appleby, Aldershot, Saltfleet. They may sound very exotic but this isn’t Bali or Thailand or Christchurch. I travel by car and at times wonder why they cancel soccer when there is a chance of lightening but despite a snow storm, white out conditions and black ice the hockey game will go on. I am sure someone is already at the rink saying “fuck it-make them drive.” And so I do. With white knuckles gripping the wheel and a bag and sticks riding in the back. But when my kid steps onto the ice it doesn’t matter.
This is my life. And I am a hockey mom.