Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Oh Boy - Hockey Mom Fever Here I Come!

We are so excited we can hardly stand it!  You see, we have this little boy who was literally born a hockey fanatic.  My husband thinks its because he was born during Stanley Cup playoff time and that is what we watched a lot of during his first few months.  I'm not sure but I do know that I have video of him watching hockey at just a couple months old and you can see how he follows the action and responds to the sounds.  

By the time he was 1 he was going to my brother's hockey games and watching the entire game without taking his eyes off except to point out something to us.  And chanting the "Let's Go Red Wings" cheer - clap sequence and all.
By the time he was 2 he had taken the top off his car play table and laid it on the floor in front of his mini hockey net for "ice" in the living room and spent hours begging anyone he could get to play hockey with him and his mini hockey sticks.  He had also turned an old Halloween mask into a goalie mask and old dirt bike shin guards into goalie pads...

For his 2nd birthday, we continued our tradition of going to our cabin but cleared the ice and played ice hockey - binky and all.  
Grandma bought him his own ice skates.  We took him skating a few times to get him started but neither of us are good skaters.  He was a natural.  The first time on the ice he tried to walk but as soon as I explained that he needed to hold his feet still and just move a little bit, he took right off.  He was too young for the local skating classes to let him join so we spent the winter going to watch the "big guys" play at my brother's games.  He would take his mini hockey stick and watch the guys on the ice and then practice whatever moves they were making with his mini hockey stick and the plastic lid of my coffee cup.  People would comment about how good he could aim and shot the "puck".
At Christmas, Santa brought him the hockey helmet he had been dreaming of.  He wore it all day and tried to sleep with it on but when that got too uncomfortable he put it on the pillow next to him and slept holding it in a death grip with his cheek pressed against the grid.  When he woke up Christmas morning the first thing he did was put it right back on.  Eventually, he realized he wasn't allowed to wear it to daycare but he wore it every minute he was out of daycare.  
Santa also brought a real hockey stick.
In January, we had his 3rd birthday party.  This time - all out hockey and Red Wings theme - no point in not giving the boy what he likes.  
In April, the new session of skating lessons began and we got him enrolled.  He learned really fast but has some problems listening to the instructors on the finer movements because he initially just wanted to go fast.  One of his friends from daycare was also in the skating lessons and had a real hockey stick that was cut down to the right size for him so of course, we had to get a real hockey stick cut down to the right size.  
So the first half of his skate time he takes lessons and does drills with the teacher and the second half he and his friend get out their hockey sticks and pucks and practice skating with them.  From the get-go he has been able to skate with the stick and handle the puck - I'm not even sure how that happened other than his "practicing" on the kitchen floor and his faux ice on the living room floor in his socks...  After the first few weeks of skating practice he would even practice "skate-walking" which is my term for his walking in a swooshing motion similar to skating - I told you the kid is obsessed!  Parents and grandparents approached us almost every week to ask about him as he was one of the smallest kids out there but clearly loved it and was faster and fell less than most of the kids older than him.
Then he met a new friend who was almost 5 years old and a really good skater.  This little guy helped "show" him how to skate backward and the two would practice making fast laps around the rink.  His new buddy was also a Red Wings fanatic and wore a Wings jersey with real hockey shorts and hockey skates and hockey gloves.  He was just killing time until his birthday when he could enter hockey.  Well his birthday came and when the next lesson session started, all Little Man's friends were gone.  

The first week was really hard to get him motivated.  Then my parents and brother went to a hockey equipment sale and scored awesome enough deals that we could afford to get him real hockey skate, hockey padded shorts and hockey gloves in his sizes.  Of course, my brother picked him out the top quality stuff and then proceeded to fuss over his little protege to make sure everything was just perfect.  
Then we went to the lesson - and suffered a setback.  The new skates had a different center of balance and Little Man kept wanting to stand up too straight and he would then fall down repeatedly - good thing for those new padded hockey pants...  My hubby was dying watching him fall time after time, afraid he would get frustrated and unmotivated.  But my little guy was super determined to learn how to skate on the "real" hockey skates like the big guys and he just kept getting back up and trying again.  He took a few good falls and cracked his elbow but just looked for a thumbs-up or came back for a hug and then took right off again.  This past weekend we took him to an open skate with my brother to let him practice more before the next lesson - really glad we did that.  

Last night was the next lesson and he was skating a lot better - almost caught back up to where he was before.  Then a lady approached us and started asking more about him.  She had asked a little about him during previous sessions but she wasn't one of the parents and we weren't sure exactly who she was.  Turns out that she is one of the new owners.  She was impressed and asked a lot about our Little Man and then indicated that she had hired a new hockey director and was going to start having him come skate with Little Man at the lessons to work on some hockey stuff and keep him motivated!  She brought in the new hockey director and introduced him to Little Man and asked him to show them how good he could skate.  He was getting tired and wanted to stop but as soon as I explained that he was the hockey coach of the "big hockey guys" my little guy's eyes lit up and he was right back out on the ice showing off.  He did really good and the hockey coach had a bunch of questions about how Little Man had handled the switch to the new skates, etc.  
So next week we will see how he responds to the hockey coach and what they think of his potential.  We are just super-excited that he has caught the eye of the right people so they can keep him going at the pace he wants to go and make sure he doesn't get bored and unmotivated because he gets stuck because of age.  Next week will also be a big week for him because my brother will be in the parade with Matt Greene and the Stanley Cup and we are trying to make sure they both get a picture with the Cup.  Hubby says we are blowing that picture up to poster size and sticking it over his bed to dream about getting his name on it!

1 comment:

Cassie said...

So cute! And how adorable is he in all his gear??

I'm so glad you linked up to the Mixer and I hope to see you again on Thursday! Also, come on by and enter to win a super adorable Thirty-One bag or some awesome discounts on a Thirty-One order! :)