What is it that 'they' say… fake it until you make it?
When my older son took to ministicks like a fish to water at 18 months, I could see hockey was in our future. Add in hockey player/superfan Dad and it was game over. I figured, I'd better start faking this love of hockey stuff.
I grew up skiing on weekends and my kids learned early on to ski, so I'm all for winter sports for sure – but hockey? I imagined cold arenas, dark mornings, and bad ice-rink snack bar coffee.
My husband couldn't wait.
Me? I'd have to fake it. Or so I thought.
We signed him up. We did the pre-hockey skating lessons. We found a rink with a warm bar area. We found friends to hang out with during the practices. Week after week, I watched him practice, and learn, and grow – and become a hockey player.
I remember distinctly one morning, sitting in the stands, 2 year-old scrambling on my lap, and being absolutely amazed at what he could do. He was no superstar, certainly, but there he was – a little hockey player all his own.
I had nothing to do with that. I had no skills to teach him, I didn't even know how to put on the equipment in those early days. He did it all by himself, and watching him develop in a sport he loved so much – a sport he would do day and night, anytime he could? Well, I guess that's when I stopped faking it.
Now, both boys play hockey – and I'm there – as many practices and games as I can be at. I love cheering them on. I get nervous before their games. I am now an expert skate-tier, shinpad tape-wrapper and trained both kids to put on their own equipment. I know to check the bag before we get in the car. I don't forget the stick. I water the backyard rink without being asked. I know what off-sides mean, and icing, and how to make the most of a 2-star hotel during an out of town tournament. I find ways to justify my trendy winter coat purchases for the weekend arena marathons.
I'm officially a hockey mom. And it's nothing like I ever expected. It's a hundred times better.
PS – that ice-rink coffee? I figured that one out too – travel mug from home, all the way!