I wasn’t able to blog last night – I had more important things to do. It was son, Dan’s, birthday and we were celebrating with him. After dinner and presents, we watched him play hockey. His team’s long winning streak, stretching into last season, was broken; the game ended in a tie.
In general, being a parent of a goalie is a difficult thing. All you can do is watch – and listen. If the team wins, the scorers receive the accolades. If the team loses, the goalie often is blamed.
In high school, parents (especially the fathers) were quick to criticize any player they deemed interfering with their sons’ personal achievements. I often opted to not sit with the other dads, distancing myself from their critical remarks. It was some of the students, however, who were the worst, heckling and harassing Dan merely because he was in net and their goalie buddy was riding the bench.
In college, the parents were more circumspect. The student body, however, took heckling to a new level. I was especially appalled by the goalie-directed jeers that erupted whenever a goal was scored. These students attend not for the sport of hockey, but for the sport of obnoxiousness.
In men’s league, Dan’s current setting, things are different. The guys play because they love the game and for the joy of it. Yes, they track stats and know how they did, but camaraderie is important – and so is having fun. Fan support is minimal and critical comments and jeers are non-existent. So, although the game was close and the outcome not what we hoped, I was able to enjoy it. Everyone had a good time – even Dan, I suspect.
(For another father-son hockey story, see “Shoot the Puck.”)