As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…more hockey memories! This season marks the 14th year my Nick has been playing hockey, and he’s #14. Coincidence? I think not. This weekend was the official kick off of our hockey season; the beginning of the end….
Hockey has probably been the single most consistent unifying experience of our family life. When Nick was 4 years old, Chuck took him to see the Blackhawks play and then he begged for skating lessons. One Saturday, while the boys were out running errands, Chuck quickly tired of all of the begging, and drove Nick straight to the rink to sign up for lessons. Contrary to the recommendation of the instructor, Nick insisted on wearing hockey skates rather than figure skates… and a hockey player was born.
On Saturdays, while he was in kindergarten, Nick was taking manners classes at the Clubhouse in Oak Brook and immediately afterward, we would race to the rink for hockey. The contradiction always made me laugh. In one breathe, we were stressing the importance of being gentile and polite, and in the other, we were screaming, “hit him!”
By the end of first grade, Nick was playing on a travel team and the rest was history. As a family, we had a great time. Our world revolved around the rink. We would eat dinner at 4:30pm because Nick had to be on the ice weeknights at 5:50pm. Our weekends were spent going to games near and far. We would find ourselves, with our team, which became our second family, at games on the weekends, going out to lunch and dinner as families. We’ve visited many a pizza place from the North Shore to Orland Park and as far West as Rockford. While the weekend games and family festivities were a blast, nothing could compare to our out of town tournaments. All the kids, hockey players and siblings alike, would miss a few days of school so we could hit the road for exciting locales such as Kalamazoo and Detroit. Our favorite trip, EVER, was a week in Canada…the Hockey Holy Land. No matter where we went there were pizza parties at the pool, movies in the rooms, parents cocktailing and Shinny Hockey in the halls (Shinny is the very best game; the kids play hockey on their knees with mini sticks and mini goals and lots of violence.). These were the good old days.
When the boys were off to High School, they went their separate ways, and things changed. We have a new family now……The Be All And End All Academy’s hockey team. The years here have been good, but the moments are fleeting. My Nick is a senior this year, and while hockey will always be an enormous part of his life (in fact we are only considering colleges that have Club Hockey Teams, and I would lay even money on the fact that he will forever play in a Men’s League.), this is our last season together as a family. It’s funny, after all these years, Nick never takes the ice without a quick glance to the stands to make sure that we are watching, and we are, because we wouldn’t dream of missing a shift. I will be certain to savor each moment; shaking Nick out of bed at 5 a.m. Monday mornings for practice, Saturday night games at 9:00 p.m. and tournaments on Thanksgiving Day (where we bring mimosa’s and doughnuts). For the time being…. more hockey, more late nights, more time together, more love, more family memories…..