Lesson #2 – Leave your baggage at home
I always find it funny when I hear parents say that they are sending their child for tryouts just so they can have some extra ice time or we just want them to have the experience and just want to see how they compare to the other players. The best line is when they say, it really doesn’t matter to us if they make it or not! Who pays for a tryout and puts their kid into a stressful situation just to get on the ice? If you want to have extra ice time, why don’t you go to the rec centre for a free skate? Safe to say it matters to you.
Believe me, I was no different but let me tell you what I have learned. I learned that when my son played house league in comparison to more competitive levels, the lessons he learned about teamwork, following rules, and life skills were the same. The times we tried to push him to play at a level he wasn’t ready for was to his detriment and it made a horrible experience for all of us. Please hear me when I say that you are wrong if you think that the only ultimate experience in hockey is if your child is playing at an elite level. The love of the game, the time with your child, and the lessons they learn happen at every level. If you make them feel that they are inadequate because they don’t play at a higher level, they’ll spend the whole experience feeling like a failure. This is what the chapter and the lesson “Leave your baggage at home” is all about. If you have any sense of shame around what level your child plays at, you have to ask yourself why. Don’t make your young player feel like a failure when they are doing their best and playing where they belong.
One of the toughest parts of creating the video series was hearing some of my son’s comments about the way I managed the hockey experience as a mom. When he said, “It didn’t take me long to discover headphones. I had to do the best I could before games or tryouts or anything nerve-wracking to try to block my mom out.” It was a difficult pill to swallow because at the time, I didn’t realize the stress I was causing him. I wanted him to play well so I could hold my head up as if it was my own accomplishment.
From that experience, I wrote lesson two (2), Leave your baggage at home. This excerpt from the book says it best:
“Sometimes we need to ask ourselves when we’ve yelled at our kids in the rink, who are we really yelling for? If they don’t have a good game, who are we embarrassed for? I bet if you think long and hard, the answer is that you’re yelling because you don’t want people to look at you like you aren’t aware that your son or daughter just messed up. I hate to say it, but like everything else, our egos get in the way. This is our child’s experience, not our own. It’s amazing the freedom that comes from stepping back. I say this having yelled, paced, made excuses and left many games feeling worse than my son did. Whenever I made the experience about me and tried to protect him from what I had gone through, it would feel way worse than it had to.”
At the end of the day, leave your baggage at home! The only baggage your child should bring to the rink is their hockey bag!
Written by Allyson Tufts
Author, Speaker and Passionate Hockey Mom
Stay tuned for the next video in the series that covers the lesson “Parents see hockey through a different set of eyes.”
To learn more about the series or to purchase your copy of the book go to www.lessonsfrombehindtheglass.com
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used without her permission.