When I found out I was having a son, I had lots of dreams about what being his mom would include. If you had told me then that I’d be celebrating a day called “National Hockey Mom’s Day” I would have laughed in your face. Me? A hockey mom? I’m a born Southern who only knew what hockey was because we’d gotten a few free tickets to a local ECHL game and I liked the Mighty Ducks. But enter Caleb.
Caleb was an individual from the get-go. Happy as can be, but never did what you expected. And energy, my gosh did that boy have energy. So one night, he was 4 years old, at one of those free ECHL nights, he walked passed a sign that said “Try Hockey for Free.” He stopped. Tried on a helmet and gloves and begged. So we said, “Sure! He’s not old enough for football, it’ll give him something to do until he is.”
Boy, were we in for it. Little did I know, he would fall in love with hockey and I’d fall in love with being a Hockey Mom. So in honor of National Hockey Mom Day, today, here are my Top Ten Things I Learned from being a Hockey Mom.
1. I always, and I do mean always, have a coat and blanket in my car. While a hockey season usually is September to March, there’s then Summer Hockey and Stick Times and Camp and, and, and … Rinks are freezing, even in the South. So it may be August and 100 degrees, but my minivan will always have my puffer and blanket.
2. Hockey Moms are crazy. And I mean that in the best way possible. If you become a hockey mom and think, “I’m not crazy”, you’re wrong. You are. And the minute your kiddo takes a dirty hit or scores the game winning goal or makes an incredible save, you’ll find your crazy. Most people know me as soft spoken, pretty chill lady. Come watch Caleb play sometime. You’ll change your mind real quick.
3. I know where every Starbucks (or coffee shop of your choice) is in multiple states. We’ve traveled up and down the East Coast playing hockey and at least one of us Hockey Moms knows exactly where to get the coffee for those 6 AM games. We also rotate out whose turn it is to pick it up. Our system works.
4. I am a pro at packing a car. We are a family of 5. I’m an over-packer. So when we go on long trips to away tournaments, I know how to pack up the minivan for optimal space. I can fit 3 suitcases, 2 hockey bags, extra pucks, 3 sticks, a cot, snacks, and all 3 of my kids in our van and everyone still has room and is comfortable. Become a hockey mom and you too will develop this skill.
5. I lost my weekends. Now, I know at first this doesn’t seem like a good thing. Who wants to be gone every weekend to a freezing cold rink? I want to. Our other friends have learned we can’t hang during hockey season because we’ll be in Charlotte or Atlanta or Roanoke or … but, truly, there is nowhere else I’d rather be than on an uncomfortable bleacher watching my boy do his thing.
6. My nose is immune to everything. Everything except hockey stench. Ever smelled a teenage boys hockey gear? Well, you’re in luck because you’ll reach a point, Hockey Mom, where it is the only thing you can smell. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but alas, no. My van will forever smell of “hockey bag”. Small price to pay.
7. I quickly learned which rinks have good food and which don’t. And now I plan accordingly. I know which places I’ll be able to get some good mozzarella sticks and where I need to pack my own snacks.
8. My kid meet his best friends playing hockey. Caleb started hockey just after he turned 5, he’s now 13. He’s been playing with some of the same kids since then. Those boys are more than just his teammates. They’re his best friends. They’ve been through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and their bond is something special. Win or lose, they do it together, supporting each other and having each others back. For example, a few months ago we played a team who didn’t appreciate Caleb’s poking at a puck near their net. After the whistle, some punches were thrown at Caleb’s head. Immediately one of our players rushed into Caleb’s defense. There were lots of penalties and so on, but when asked why he rushed in there, his response was “No one punches Caleb but us”. It’s a brotherhood and I truly think these boys will be in each other’s weddings and playing beer league together in 20 years.
9. I’ve meet some of my best friends. From August to March, we are traveling and practicing. I see my hockey family more than I see my regular family. And while I know it’s not always the case, I consider my fellow Hockey Moms some of my closest friends. We have fun together. Tournaments and away weekends are made with our late night lobby hangouts. I mentioned the coffee. We share blankets and gloves, we take each other’s kids when someone can’t make it. We’ve played in 18 inches of snow together and we’ve played football on the beach together. I’m just going to go ahead and say our team has the best group of Hockey Moms around but you could meet some pretty cool ones too.
10. I’ve loved every single minute. I can’t express the joy being Caleb’s Hockey Mom gives me. I know one day, he’ll finish this youth sport and I’ll have free weekends, and money, and time and I also know that I will miss these moments more than any of those things are worth. I’ll miss the cold rinks, and bad food, and smell, and car trips, and busyness. I wouldn’t trade these days away for anything in the world. Thank God I’m a Hockey Mom.
And Bonus Thing I’ve Learned from being a Hockey Mom – I would make an excellent Official. I mean, honestly, they should be paying me for all those missed calls I let them know about *winkwink*
Now that Lynie has started to love hockey, I get to experience all this again with her and I can’t wait.
Happy National Hockey Moms day ladies!
All the love,