My very short list of “good parenting choices” includes sending Junior to the YMCA for preschool and Kindergarten after care. The teachers were super sweet and engaged, but the bonus was that he learned swimming, ice skating and tumbling while he was there. Not only did it burn off energy, but also I didn’t have to drag him to any lessons after school. Perfect for my lazy lifestyle.
Thanks to the Y, Junior is a decent skater so we signed him up for their beginning hockey lessons last year. Tom and I know zilch about the sport. Hockey wasn’t a big deal when we were growing up. Neither was soccer. In fact, I don’t think soccer was even invented back then. Needless to say, the only thing that we can identify in hockey is the Zamboni.
The first day on the ice, we learned that the stick needs to be taped before it turns into a giant Pez dispenser of splinters. We also discovered that we bought Junior a stick for lefties. He’s right handed. Tom offered to get him a new stick, but the kid refused and adapted his grip.
As the season progressed, Junior’s confidence grew and so did his head.
His noggin grew out of his helmet during one session and he came off the ice in tears. I yanked it off and his entire forehead had indentations from where the helmet was digging into his head. A fella at the Y helped me loosen the screws to open it up and we got him back on the ice. Later that day, I noticed that two dimples remained on his temples.
They never went away. Every time I notice the dents, I am so overwhelmed with guilt that I want to set up a Botox appointment for him. Or inject my ass fat into his head so it’s a win-win.
This year we signed him up at the Y to be on a team. I was not about to let him down again so I went through the equipment checklist to make sure he was covered. While we were at Play it Again Sports, Tom tried to convince him to get a righty stick, but Junior insisted that he play lefty. Again, what the hell do we know?
The skates still fit and the helmet was expanded to a bigger size. The only stuff I didn’t have off the list were hockey socks. Give me a break. I have soccer and baseball socks coming out my ears. They aren’t going to trick me into buying one more thing.
We show up for evaluations and my eyes dart around trying to copy other parents putting the gear on their kids. I shimmy his diaper/hockey pants over his thick fleece sweats, which are over his baseball sliding pants, which are over his cup. All I could think at this point is that the kid is going to have some serious schweddy balls.
I refocus, put the shin/knee guards over his sweatpants and then attempt to pull the soccer socks up over his gear. Oh god. They won’t pull up high enough. The knee part of the guard is totally sticking out and he looks like the Elephant Man because I tucked his sweats into his socks. Why the hell didn’t anyone explain to me that hockey socks are really FRIGGIN’ LEG WARMERS??? Hello? I peaked in the 80s. I wore a uniform skirt through Chicago’s frigid winters for 12 years. I know what leg warmers are!
Poor Junior looks like Harry the Homeless Hockey Player.
He scoots around, oblivious that he’s the only one not representing Flashdance out on the ice. Halfway through, he leaves the rink, upset that his brains are coming out of his ears because the helmet is too small. The Y guy expands it to the biggest size and suggests that we get him a new helmet before he skates again. When the evaluation is done, one of the coaches tells Tom that he can tell that Junior’s skates desperately need to be sharpened because he was gliding slowly on the ice. Sure enough, they were like butter knives.
Overwhelmed by unknowingly sabotaging my kid (again), I run him out to the new fancy Total Hockey store and get his helmet professionally fitted. Then it was back to Play and Trade to unload his torture-chamber helmet and get shorts/cup holder (not for drinks) with a Velcro garter to hold up his new leg warmers. I even caved and bought him a little Blackhawks hockey stick due to extreme guilt.
When we got back to the house with all of his new stuff (hockey is such a cheap sport), Missy’s jealousy went up. It doesn’t matter that he got a fancy jock strap and bad knitwear circa 1985, the fact that we went Shopping bugged her.
“You know, mom,” she said with a gleam in her eye, “I’ve been thinking that I want to try out hockey, too.”
To which I replied:
H E double hockey sticks NO!
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