I Love the Smell of Hockey at the Start of a New Season
It's always exciting when a new season hits and for many of us it's not only back to school but back to the rink. While some of you never really left the rink this summer with camps, and clinics, others are putting coats and blankets in the car, getting out that gotta-have-it coffee cup and wondering where their closed-toe shoes are (me!). For those of us who take a break and haven't set a finely pedicured, sandaled foot in a rink in two months, it's a chance to:
Say hello to old friends - If you haven't been around the rink then you may have lost all "real" touch with the people who make up your tribe during season. Time to get caught up in each other's lives without the use of Facebook or Instagram.
Meet new friends - Inevitably there is going to be shifting around and some new players and parents will be joining the team. Or maybe you are the new kid on the block. Either way forging new friendships for parents and kids is what youth sports is all about.
Beat the heat - This may be an "Arizona thing" but it so nice to be in a place where you don't stick to a seat, worry about your makeup sliding off, or get that lovely blotchy, red face from the 115 degree heat! We just have to remember to actually PUT a jacket or hoodie the car. I have been in the not-so-enviable position of having goosebumped and blue arms a time or two toward the beginning of the season.
Enjoy the soundtrack of hockey - It doesn't take long for you to remember the sounds of hockey. The incredibly satisfying thud a puck makes when hitting a leg pad just right, the tape-to-tape passes where puck meets stick and the chatter and the laughter you hear from the team. Music to my ears and speaking of which, you will also get your yearly fill of AC/DC tunes...but no we do NOT need more cowbell! But you can use a hockey mom playlist. Points if you actually play it in the car with your kid.
Smells - The gear hasn't gone all gross yet, the ice itself has that unique smell and the aroma coming from your coffee or hot chocolate is a welcome olfactory experience. Breathe it all in for the first week or so, until you start choking from the three to four times a week practice funk that has set in.
Clean slate - No matter what happened last year be it disappointing stats or locker room feuds, everyone is excited to be part of a new year. Let bygones be bygones. That goes for any drama, rivalries or just bitchiness in general (kids AND parents).
Car chats - Any hockey mom or dad will tell you that some of the best talks with their player come from the ride to, or from a game or practice. Spending all that time in the car just seems to get the tongue wagging. Not to be confused with car coaching, something that no vehicle needs.
Exercising those vocal chords - Yelling is generally frowned upon in the real world, if you don't believe me try shouting "SKATE!" in a meeting...but in hockey? It's practically required, unless you are a goalie parent and then you are just expected to sit there, rock back and forth and go quietly insane.
Crockpots - Yes, it is time to pull out the ole' crockpot for soups, stews, roasts, chocolate fondue, whatever you want, as long as it can cook while you are away at the rink hopefully not getting blue arms from forgetting your coat. Hockey parents grill in the summer, crockpot in the fall/winter/spring. Try this one for potato soup. It has bacon. That is really all I need to say.
Get new swag - Like the team logo? Want to show even more team spirit than just sitting at every practice and cheering at every game? Then get yourself some new hockey swag for the new season, hockey mom! On some teams I believe if 1/3 to 1/2 of your wardrobe doesn't have a logo on it you could be tried as a traitor. You may want to check your associations bylaws.
It's a great excuse - Nine chances out of ten there is going to be an event that you don't want to go to during the season. Mercifully that event could land on a game or practice day. Oh darn, I sure wish I could go to your kitchen gadget/personal products/purse/home decor party but we have hockey!
Be a witness to greatness - Last, but certainly not least, you get to watch your player do what they love and that, my fellow hockey parents, makes it all worthwhile.
What are your favorite parts of starting a new season? Do you prepare or wing it?