Oh, the golden age of mite hockey. When every little one is a NHL hopeful, no one is burnt out from too much fast food, not enough sleep and equipment is still priced as youth. The optimism and naivete are high and your team bonds faster than contestants on a reality show.
You quickly forget how different things used to be.
As a bantam parent It had actually been a long time since I really watched a mite game. I mean, I do see them coming to and from the rink with their tiny little equipment (being carried by a parent) and sipping on water bottles. I always smile, remark at how small they look and how mine, with her size 10 feet could have NEVER have been that teeny.
Covering a mite game for our hockey board, I was able to be an impartial observer for the first time in a long time. I was able to take in more than just the typical herding around the puck (positions? what are THOSE?) and the players' small stature.
What a difference a few years make! So, what did I notice?
Bling. Tons of it. Everywhere you looked. Sweatshirts, t-shirts, blankets..I wasn't sure but someone might have blinged out their baby's forehead with the team logo although I was so blinded, I couldn't tell. Don't get me wrong, I am not hating on bling. I have a "goalie mom" sweatshirt that you can probably see from space but I gave that up two seasons ago. You move on.
Volume: I may not have blocked it out completely but I had definitely shoved it to the back of my consciousness the days of cowbells, whistles and excessive cheering. What exactly is excessive cheering you ask? Every little move each player made was met with hoots, hollers and "SKATE!" which, of course, is every hockey mom's mantra at that age. And while I know that I have done my share of excessive cheering from the stands, I now just sit quietly, wringing my hands and muttering like any self-respecting, crazy ass goalie mom would. As far as the cowbell? Even in the mite years I abhorred it. Walken and Ferrell were WRONG..we do NOT need more cowbell.
It's a Family Affair: The ratio of mite player to family member goes a little something like this: for every mite there is at least two parents, a minimum of one sibling, grandparent(s) and a partridge in a pear tree. Not that family doesn't come out to older players' games, it's just not in the droves that it used to be. Usually it is because one parent is with another player at another rink. It's called divide and conquer. Much love to those with two or more players in the house; I don't know how you do it!
Criticism: Everyone is AMAZING! No better group of kids has EVER set skate on the ice in the history of mite hockey. It does not matter if your kid missed forty passes, spent more time on his/her butt than on their feet or let ten goals in through the 5 hole. They were AWESOME! Each mite parent will tell you so and you will return the favor. It's just the niceness of the mite years. As a parent now it's more like "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all". You can, however trust any compliments tossed your player's way because if they sucked? Silence is golden. And you know it too.
Ah yes it was a golden age. And just like every age of your life is the best year, so is every hockey year which is why I wouldn't trade those mite years for nothing.
Embrace them all..blinged out or not.