Am I actually sad for the end of hockey season?

Another hockey season has come to an end. With four boys playing the sport, most people would assume that I’m relieved to be able to reclaim my life. Sure the thought of more freedom on the weekends or better yet, a weekend home, sounds good but I love being a hockey mom. I love the endless driving with one of my boys sitting next to me. I love to feel the excitement brewing before a game or to share in the disappointment of an overtime loss. I love watching a good cele after a goal and a big fair hit always adds excitement. I guess I think of all the hard work, growth and development, friendships and dreams that went into the previous 6 or 7 months and then poof- it’s over. Every year at this time I feel kind of sad to see the season end.

My oldest has been obsessed with hockey since he first stepped his skates onto the ice just as he turned 4. His dedication and commitment to his love of hockey is an inspiration to me to focus on the things I love. It also makes the insane amount of money we’ve spent on hockey more palatable. The end of this season is really the end of an era for my need to be involved with him. Regardless of where he goes next year, he’ll likely be taking a team bus to away weekends and driving to practices. I’m going to miss having him as the DJ on our journeys to the next rink or hotel. Our honest and often deep conversations on the road have been priceless. We now share a similar taste in music and inside-jokes that to me are the best trophy a mother could ask for.

It wasn’t until more recently that my second son realized how much he loves hockey. Even though his size makes his presence known, he is much more reserved and doesn’t say much, unless he’s lighting someone up on the ice. Before this season, it was hard to get him to say much of anything except random teenage grunts or mumbles in response to my questions. As we were stuck together for hours driving, he began to talk to me and we too shared music and jokes. We bonded over long drives to many cold rinks and it was a blessing to me to find an entirely new person in my quiet son. His team was just the perfect fit for him. The kids all really liked one another and the parents were wonderful. Next year he’ll be a freshman and if he decides to play for his high school, this would be our one and only travel year together. Tryouts are approaching so time will tell.

My third and fourth sons both play house league. One is a PeeWee and the other a Mite. They both grew so much as players this season and I’m so proud of both boys. My PeeWee is a beautiful skater who when he puts his mind to it has a nice shot too. My youngest who only started playing this year at 8 could barely skate in September but just last week he practiced with the PeeWee team and blended in. I don’t know if they’ll love the sport enough to try out for a travel team someday, but I support them wherever their path takes them. My rule is that if they want something they need to be the one aiming and working for their goals. I don’t push them, I support them. I hope that I have a similar experience with these guys as I have with their older brothers. I hope we can go on road trips to cold rinks in unfamiliar towns together too. Only time will tell.

So while it may sound masochistic to hear me say that I’m sad hockey season is over- now you know why. I could do without the smelly gear, but ether I’ve gotten used to it or my nostrils have been burned from the toxicity because it hasn’t bothered me as much as it used to. Truth is, I grew up as a figure skater and started playing pick-up hockey two years ago because I wanted to know what all the hype was about. I loved it. Unfortunately, due to my kids hockey schedules, I’m seldom in town on Saturday nights when everyone plays! When I can, I bring my two oldest boys out with me and we play together. I know they make fun of me because I’m awful- but I get to play a sport with my boys! How cool is that?!

When I say a lot of driving by the way, it’s no joke. I put 25k miles on my car since I bought it in July- beat that!

I guess it’s time for lacrosse and soccer now:)