Now that development camp is done for the time being at Southpointe, Jordan is playing for Baldwin Hockey Club in their development league. Thus far, the kids have practiced three times together and Jordan is already making friends.
This camp has been a far cry from the others we have attended as far as atmosphere. The league is run by parents (credentialed and qualified parents). The mean spirited, competitive nature we experienced with the Mount Lebanon parents either isn’t there or isn’t as prominent. Everyone has been pretty nice and helpful.
One of my good friends came to sit with me at practice yesterday and we had a discussion about hockey being more of a family sport. It’s one of the only sports where parents are present regularly at practice across all age groups and at all (or most) games.
It truly does take a family to support a developing hockey player. It’s an extremely expensive and time consuming sport. With ice time being limited, you spend a lot of time in the car.
Additionally, with hockey, skating is your main skill. This takes more than just hitting the ice at development camp. My son has been through three or four rounds of ice skating lessons and can age into a power skating class after his birthday in January. While the coaches spend time focusing on skating skills at practice, it isn’t the same as skating classes. There are many available in the area that hone in on hockey skating skills specifically.
My family has been extremely supportive of Jordan playing. My brothers have bought him equipment and practiced with him in the street. My dad plays with him. But beyond that, my friends (whom I also consider my family) are supportive. They’ve generously contributed to Jordan’s fundraisers. have endured freezing at ice rinks with me to keep me company, have offered to work with him on different skills, and have offered to ride him to practice in the event that I am unavailable because of work or other commitments.
It is a family sport.
Growing up, my parents built a close extended family for us from our baseball league. We are still close with these families to this day, some for twenty years now. As time goes on with hockey, Jordan and I may be able to do the same. And it is important. His teammates will be his friends, his companions, his brothers. These are people we will travel with, eat with, and bond with for likely years to come. He will benefit from that sense of community for as long as he wishes to play.
Yesterday at practice, I was blown away by one of the other children’s conduct. Jordan and another kid collided on the ice and I think Jordan got the wind knocked out of him. A coach helped him up and talked to the kids. One of the boys lives on our street. Jordan sits with him on the school bus even though he is older. The boy skated Jordan off the ice to me and waited by the door to make sure that he was okay. He’s six.
That doesn’t come from being six. That comes from strong family values. That is a reflection of his parents and his coaches that he showed that much concern for his friend. At least that is my belief. It wasn’t that he asked Jordan on the ice if he was okay and then continued with his warm ups. He went the extra mile and brought him off the ice to be checked out and then waited for him.
I’ve met his parents. My first impression was that they are good people.
After practice, they were sitting next to each other getting changed and the boy told Jordan what a good job he did today. He also made Jordan feel better about the hole that he wore into his socks by showing him his own hole.
As a parent, you couldn’t ask for your kid to associate with a better friend than that.
It’s important to recognize that family is more than blood. Your team can be your family if you have the right attitude and values.