A few posts ago, I mentioned that I’d signed up to coach hockey. I’m the head coach of Child Three’s team, with four assistants and a part-time manager. That’s a staff of 1.5 more people than usual, but we’re meshing well thanks to my celebrated people skills. (You can see my skills in action in the photo at left.)
Those readers who remember my previous grumbles about coaching T-ball might wonder why I signed up for hockey. I asked myself the same question once in a while. But this is a lot more fun. The two other NDG coaches in my division are both pleasant gents – one was my T-ball assistant this summer – and, as I say, the assistants on my team make me look forward to games. They each have a particular function they like to take charge of and there’s no overlap, and thus no conflict.
Let me not forget the kids. They’re focused, they work hard, and they’re a pleasure to work with. I’m not sure if that’s a function of the sport or not. In baseball and its relatives, there’s a lot of time to daydream. In hockey, if you’re on the ice, you pay attention. As well, in T-ball, we’re on the field with the kids. In hockey, it’s up to them alone, and perhaps they appreciate the responsibility. Or maybe I just have better kids than I did in summer.
In our first game, Saturday, Child Three played goalie. We won 3-2, but the most notable moment of the game was when an opposing player had a breakaway. As the attention of everyone in the building turned from centre ice to Child Three, we all saw that his trapper (the goalie catching glove) was lying on the ice – and he was standing in the crease completely oblivious. Fortunately, the breakaway ended with a loose puck slowly sliding toward Child Three and he grabbed it with his bare hand.
No one knew how or why the glove was off, least of all Child Three. He says it fell off and he didn’t notice.
The team impressed me mightily. The close score was no indication of how much we outplayed the other team. Their goals both came from passes into the slot that resulted in good shots. Child Three probably should have saved at least one of them, but he made other good saves, so I call it even.
After the game, he went home with a teammate and I drove home alone. I was happy – no, joyous. I had tunes pumping in the minivan and felt as great as I do after I myself play a great game. What a weird feeling, but worth every minute of the afternoon.
We played Sunday and won 3-0 with another solid game. These kids are picking up our lessons quickly. They have had no exposure to hockey theory – positional play, plays, etc. – but have only practiced skills, yet they are soaking up my lessons like tiny, eager sponges.
Child Three played forward the second game and our other goalie went between the pipes. Other than two highlight-reel goals we scored, the play of the game was Child Three’s penalty as he took down an opposing player with all of his 35 pounds and got two for tripping. He also got an assist on our first goal, somehow. It looks like a beautiful pass on the score sheet, but it was invisible to me on the ice.
Elvi posted some photos of the second game with her Picasa account, but I’ve posted some of the better ones here, with Child Three in the white helmet on the non-pinnied team:
Check out the comments to my recent post on commercials, where I’ve had short but enlightening conversation with the man who drives the Kia Sportage through the bayou in that commercial that annoys me.