For years we tried to be wise with our money. This meant telling our children that, under no circumstances, were they ever to play hockey. That way we didn’t have to join the ranks of beleaguered parents that had to pay a thousand bucks a year for the PRIVELEGE of paying three hundred bucks for a hockey stick, two hundred bucks for skates and who knows how much for the rest of the equipment, only to then get up at 4:00 a.m. and drive to a freezing cold arena and get hemorrhoids on those hard, wooden seats.
Basically, we didn’t want to get into something where, one year later, we found ourselves helplessly engrossed and unable to get out—sort of like watching the television show 24…
Unfortunately our youngest does not listen to reason. Nor does he respond to threats: casually mentioning that signing up for Hockey Basics may mean no longer sleeping INSIDE the house led to a discussion about winter camping.
My buddy John went through the list of equipment that we had to have for our grade one son to enjoy the sport.
John: “You need skates ($60), a helmet ($60), socks ($10), shorts ($50), elbow pads ($10), shin pads ($30), shoulder pads ($70) and a cup.”
Me: “A cup?”
John: “Believe me, he needs a cup. A rink full of six-year-old boys with long sticks and balance issues is a recipe for disaster.”
Me: “Maybe without a cup he’ll learn to be ultra fast.”
John: “If you were my dad, I would put myself up for adoption.”
One of the most important things to remember when going to hockey practice is to go early enough that you can follow the other parents into the correct dressing room, because you will have lost or forgotten the original instructions. Make sure that you dress warmly, or the one-hour practice may seem more like a three- hour colonoscopy. Next, you must make sure that you put all the equipment on correctly, in the correct order. As a tip, the pads should go on FIRST, then the thick shorts, then the jersey, then the shin pads, the socks, the skates and the gloves….and the helmet. There may be other pieces that you have forgotten. Check the big hockey bag you brought in with you.
If you are a novice hockey parent, you may be proud of yourself for signing the kid up, paying for everything and getting him to the rink on time. Chances are you don’t have everything down to a science yet and there will be a few friendly parents who have “been there” and will help you out:
Hockey Dad (watching Benjamin on the ice): “I think that kid’s laces need to be a lot tighter.”
Me: “What makes you say that?”
Hockey Dad: “He’s skating on his ankles.”