He wanted to play ice hockey and what better place than the prairies. We figured it was something that he could look forward to in our move to Edmonton. Besides, I come from a hockey family – my grandpa played until he was 72 and the only reason he had to stop was because he took a puck to the ankle. My uncles play, my cousins play. One cousin even played in the WHL. I was excited and proud to hear he wanted to play but as we drove to the arena last night for the first day of conditioning camp my stomach tightened. I did not register him under false pretenses. He has taken some skating lessons, but is still shaky and skating is not something we have done much as a family. And, he is little. Furthermore, as much as daddy is a hockey fan, he is no hockey player. We practiced putting the gear on but I knew there were bound to be hiccups for both Jakob and us as parents.
I think we forget how many times children are faced with difficult, new and challenging situations. There is so much that they have to learn. As we become adults many of us opt out of those things. We learn we have a choice and so choose not to be uncomfortable, or try new things or persevere when things get tough. Many of us, dare I say, would not have made it through last night’s practice.
He fell. He fell many times. And yet, every time he got right back up. I watched. It was painful. My heart hurt for him because I knew how much courage and humility it took to be out on that ice with kids that had been already playing hockey for years.
I am so proud of him. He made it through and he didn’t even cry (I know I would have…in fact, I almost did). That being said, I did hear a quiver in his voice when we embraced off the ice and I asked him how it was. “Hard,” he said.
Last night was a poignant reminder that even though there are times when things suck, and are down right HARD we need to just pick ourselves up and keep going. Jakob reminded me of this. And you know what? It will get better. Even in an hour, you could see his skating and control improve. And after all, isn’t that what conditioning camp is for – to brush up on his skating skills and get comfortable on the ice again before playing with a team.
Practice, perseverance and determination – it sucks…but it’s the stuff full lives are made of.