I have had a great year coaching hockey this year and I think the boys have a similar feeling. It was a great weekend not long ago that prompted this blog entry. I hope you enjoy it
I've poured my cup of tea and have formed a column idea so now to put it on paper. It has been a great winter and I was able to get out a number of times on snow shoes and have spent time just taking in snow covered hills and frozen fields while an eagle or crow flew over head and snowflakes gently fell. I've spent time in various arenas in our region and even a couple at Harbor Station during a Seadogs game or two. That is where my inspiration for this column comes from. Not the Seadogs necessarily, unfortunately they are having an off season, but from a particular trip I made to a game with the Novice 1 team I'm coaching.
Thanks to the great support from a number of the kid's parents we were able to take a Tim Horton's tour bus to Saint John for a Sunday afternoon game between the Seadogs and the Voltigeur. It was a defensive game won by the Volts 1-0. The boys all sat and cheered loudly and some of them got their faces on the score board. I continually laughed as some danced and acted silly while some sat and analyzed the game and it struck me how different the kids were yet they all got along so well.
After the game was over we hung out for a bit and the boys were invited down to skate with the Seadogs players. I went from being amazed at how well mannered and behaved my team of 7 year old boys were to being stunned at how accommodating the 17-21 year olds from the Seadogs were. They chatted with many of the kids and signed tons of autographs while wearing a smile, despite the tough loss they just played through. It was also neat to see how much of an impression these junior players had on the Initiation and Novice players that had been given the chance to attend the skate. Many of the kids I coach were continually coming up to me showing off the autograph they just got on their jersey or game ticket and they didn't need teeth whitener because the glow in their cheeks brightened their smiles better than any toothpaste could.
The bus ride home was full of laughter as most of the kids, who on the way to the game hung more with their parents or tighter friends, now all grouped together towards the back of the bus. It was then when I saw how certain events helped bond youth and I felt blessed to have been able to help provide this moment for them. For many of these kids they will play a tournament at the end of March where most of the team is booked in a hotel and likely this will turn into another bonding experience. If they are anything like my self, they'll share memories they'll remember for a lifetime.
Any sport or team activity provides various bonding experiences. No doubt you already know that but in case you don't, I suggest you try a team activity or simply taking a road trip with a number of acquaintances.