It’s amazing how karma will always find you one way or another. My husband used to tell me that we don’t want to be the parents that are in the coach’s face all the time. We don’t want to be bugging them on their way to the car, in the parking lot or at a social function. I listened to him and I even agreed with him but there were times that I didn’t listen quite well enough when I was experiencing one of my “Passionate Hockey Mom Moments”.
There were so many times that I wanted some kind of feedback from the coach that would make me feel better about why he wasn’t playing my son or why he didn’t make a team. My husband would remind me that I could ask the coach but I needed to be able to hear what he said. He would say, “The coach has made his mind up, he doesn’t care why you think he should have made it – you’re the Mom, these aren’t your decisions”. It drove me crazy because, as the Mom, I always felt it was my job to protect him but that certainly didn’t mean it was my job to ensure he got all of the ice time he wanted and made every team I thought he should be on. I respected my husband’s opinion but I never fully understood it. But one day, karma found me and made me realize the impact of cornering your coach to “help” your young player see the ice.
When my son was playing junior hockey, my husband took a job coaching Triple A. It meant a ton of travelling, a ton of commitment and it meant missing his own son’s games at times. He always loved coaching and so he took the job. At the beginning of every season there was always a tournament and it always fell on our anniversary. We decided we’d try and sneak out for a nice dinner during the tournament to celebrate – every hockey parent will understand this. Occasions always fall around the hockey schedule and hockey tends to come first.
I remember getting ready to go to dinner and being so excited that we finally would have some time to talk. It had been a busy weekend and his commitment had been to the kids he was coaching, I was looking for some much-needed time. After one of the afternoon games that didn’t go so well, we stepped on the elevator to sneak out for dinner. Just as the doors were closing a Mom from the team hopped on and pressed the “DOOR CLOSE” button. I smiled and said “How are you?” She didn’t answer me, which was odd because she’d always been friendly. She took the opportunity in the small space to turn to my husband very angrily and say, “I want a meeting with you about ice time!” she went on to say a few other things at which time my blood was boiling. He turned to her and said, “I’m happy to have a meeting with you, please send me an email and we’ll book it with the other coaches.” He didn’t flinch, there was no emotion, and the conversation was over. I, on the other hand, was livid. Can you imagine if she had been out to dinner with her son and one of the coaches had walked up to her in the restaurant and starting telling her young player how poorly he played. It would never be acceptable. Yet parents think it’s okay to invade personal space for their child.
Unfortunately, it’s all I could talk about at dinner. I was so angry at her and then my husband pointed out to me, that I had done that. I quickly responded, “I never did that!” to which he said “Maybe not in an elevator – but you’ve definitely talked to coaches outside the rink during their own personal time.” Once again, he was right. It’s so hard and we want what’s best for our kids but it doesn’t mean we can do and say whatever we want. We need to follow the protocol for communication with the coaches as long as our kids aren’t in a situation that requires us stepping in. They put in enough time, so we shouldn’t bother them on their personal time.
Karma found me and made me realize what it was like to be on the other side of the hockey conversation. As I wrote in Chapter #3, “Parents see hockey through a different set of eyes.”
-Written by Allyson Tufts
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used without her permission.