What Happens When Your Bestie's Kid Gets Cut From The Team
The kids aren't the only ones making friends during a season. I once described hockey parents as survivors on an island (preferably not the "Survivor" type of island): Banding together, supporting each other, reveling in the wins, consoling each other with the losses, and creating fire in the rink when it's 6am and frigid...
It really does take a tribe to raise hockey players.
Your rink friends are extremely important. They "get it". They understand what it takes, the sacrifices made and the exaltation and exhaustion that comes with being a hockey parent. They are your hockey tape to stick, your glove to blocker....you get the idea.
So, you feel it when one of them leaves.
Maybe it's a decision made by the family. A move to a different state. A desire to change things up. A move up (or down) to a different level. Disagreements with the coach or organization. Or maybe the family doesn't get to make the decision at all...their player gets cut.
And this is where things can get very sticky.
So, how do you deal with the possible bad feelings, resentment, embarrassment and disappointment that is sure to follow? Here are some do's and don'ts to help you navigate this tricky time.
Don't gloat. As I stated in my 6 Ways To Get Through A Youth Hockey Tryout post recently, don't gloat too much if your kid makes the team. I am not asking you not to be happy for your player but don't let your celebration further compound the disappointment for your friend.
Do be sympathetic. Let them know how sorry you are.
Do LISTEN...and then listen some more. This is not really the time to interject things like "everything happens for a reason" "you guys will be fine" "any team would be happy to have you". It may all be true but trust me, they don't want to hear it right then.
Don't encourage negative talk. There may be some sour grapes such as griping about the coach's short sightedness, the association not making good decisions or even talk of "sabotage" from the other players and parents (true story). Again, refer to the above point by listening but not engaging. It does neither party good to stoke the fire with negativity.
Do ask them about their plans. Will they go to another team? Ask questions that encourage excitement in a new beginning.
Do make plans to keep in touch. My goalie daughter hasn't played with certain kids in over 7 years but that doesn't stop me from being Facebook friends and getting together with other parents. They are still your tribe, just in another faction now (pardon the "Divergent" reference).
It's never easy to say goodbye but it's not forever. Hockey IS family and the community is strong and wide. You never know, you may end up on the same team again in the future!
How do you handle your friends leaving? Let me know!