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I Want to Believe

December 10, 2009

I want to believe that hockey players are concerned with how the game is going to make them into a better person. I want to believe that parents see the benefit of showing up to practice and games when the coach asks you to. I want to believe that the truly good people in the game will get rewarded for a year of being last in bag-skates as a result of playing above their level because of an organization having one too many teams. People often aren’t rewarded for the work they put in thanks to a constantly flawed system no matter where you look, but I want to believe that Craig MacTavish was right when he said that ulitmately the game of hockey will reward you.
I’m starting to get really nervous about some of the kids I’ve coached and how quickly they’re growing up. Some of them have progressed more than they can possibly realize and they’re soon going to have to make tough decisions. I hope that they choose to stick with the gruelling schedule of practices, games, spring hockey and all the dry-land training and whatnot, because the ones that I have in my brain right now have a real shot to make hockey into a career.
Peer pressure is going to start to creep in, particularly with female hockey (YOU get involved with female hockey and tell me I’m passing judgement). Other priorities are going to present themselves along with it all, and I just hope that the time they’ve spent with me will help them to make strong decisions.
How many stories are there about players that had talent that screwed it up? How many players got intimidated or felt they needed to fit in with a certain demographic in order to achieve their goals? I’m tip-toeing on an ugly line here, but it’s not my fault that my brain worries about things. Believe me, I’ve done my part to try to shut my brain up. Nothing could possibl-eye go wrong. Possibl-ee go wrong. That’s the first thing that’s ever gone wrong.
Hopefully it’s alright to worry. I get to watch one of my players try out for an Alberta Winter Games spot this weekend, and I’m excited for her to get away from the shenanigans of our peewee team for a little bit. She’s clearly taking that next step, like I’ve talked about, and again, I’m worried sick about her growing up (even though she’s got maturity beyond her years), and I know without qualification that she’ll be fine. It’s tough to watch young hockey players go through the stress and consternation of this sometimes silly game, but it’s clearly got a role to play for all of us who care for its ability to develop people on and off the ice. I’m unbelievably happy to have a part in it at all. Happier than when I started writing this post.
The system works!
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