I know you shouldn’t have favourites but there is a story from the book that is my absolute favourite. It makes me laugh every time I read it, and before I’m finished, I usually have a little cry. The story is about a night when it was my turn to run the carpool with my son and his two teammates. Their Moms and I had spent the year sharing the drive. I was working at Hospice providing bereavement services at the time. There were moments during those drives with those boys that they would turn a very stressful day into a joyful one. On this day one of my passengers, Kyle, had planned on talking to the coach because he was feeling like he hadn’t been treated very well and he wanted to understand why. I don’t want to give too much more away, I think the story below speaks for itself. For those of you haven’t read my book, here is a little excerpt to give you a small taste of what it’s all about. I hope you enjoy it!
“All three boys piled in, and Kyle got in the front with me. Jack and Shawn were in the back, carrying on as usual. Kyle told me his plans to talk to the coach, so I asked if he wanted to practice the conversation with me. The boys in the back were no help at all, and I was frustrated at their lack of support. I was trying to talk him through it, but I could see how tense he was, and I wanted to help him as much as possible. Finally, I turned the music off and said, “Boys! Kyle is going to talk to the coach tonight. Help him out. What do you think he should say?”
They started to belt out things that didn’t make sense at all. “Go hard in the corners, keep your eye on the puck, take the “D”. I told them I was serious, and I reminded them that they needed to help their teammate.
Shawn said, “Okay, Kyle, I know what you should do! Finally, the boys had heard me! “You need to walk right up to him, look him straight in the eye, slowly grab his nipple and twist the *%#@ out of it!” I was in complete shock and wanted to kill the kid. Jack was laughing so hard I thought he might pee his pants. I turned to Kyle to try to support him further, but for the first time on the car ride he was laughing uncontrollably, that kind of laugh where you can’t catch your breath. With my social work background, I truly thought I would be able to talk this young man through a very stressful situation. In the end it was his teammates who knew what to do to settle him down and let him know they were there for him.
I learned in that moment to never underestimate the power of a teammate. That’s a bond that’s very special, and as a mom I realized that from here on in my job was to keep Jack fed, get him to and from games, and make sure he had a warm place to come home to after games. That supporting role I thought I was playing in hockey had been taken over by his teammates. Obviously, these boys had talked to Kyle about this long before the car ride, and I didn’t give them enough credit. The truth is, they just didn’t want to talk about it in front of me. It wasn’t my place to stick my nose in, and in their own way they let me know it.
I watched the three of them walk into the rink that night, pushing and shoving. Once they got close to the door I noticed that both Jack and Shawn tapped Kyle on the back – the tap of a teammate that showed him they had his back and no matter the outcome they were friends for life.”
The bonds that come from this game last a lifetime, so do the memories and so do the lessons. I hope you enjoyed one of my favourite stories from the book and I hope you get to witness these friendships with your young players. To learn more about how the ride home went after the talk with the coach, order your copy of the book at www.lessonsfrombehindtheglass.com.
-Written by Allyson Tufts
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used without her permission.