Why We Said "No" to Hockey School
It's supposed to be every hockey player's dream, getting drafted. Moving out-of-state, billeting with a family or living in a house with other players, and playing in a league against really good competition. Sounds like a dream right?
The reality is this, it's not for every player or for every family.
While in Massachusetts for the USA Hockey National Championships, my goalie daughter's coach had a representative from a prestigious hockey school come out and evaluate her. While we knew that other girls from the team were being scouted, we didn't know she was being looked at also.
It was highly flattering. All the years of hard work that she's put in were finally starting to be validated, and we were grateful that her coach thought enough of her to set it up. We were invited to come down to check out the facility, talk to coaches, and get a feel for the program. Needless to say my daughter was thrilled about the chance of playing in such a well-known and respected organization.
Talk about impressive; this program had it all. Huge tour bus with the team's logo on it, state-of-the-art gym, hot tubs, classy locker rooms, goalie coaches, and ice pretty much whenever she wanted it. Her growth as a goalie would be extensive, and the opportunities far better than what we could get in our neck of the woods. The team lived in the quaintest of neighborhoods in an old Victorian complete with front porch. My daughter, practically an Arizona native, had never seen the likes of it. They took care of meals, laundered their jerseys, and had discounts on equipment. We were in awe and a bit starstruck at the possibility of her joining them.
It seemed like the perfect setup...
Except she would be living in Boston, from August to April. My daughter would have to give up her traditional classroom education for online learning, say goodbye to the theater program where she has been excelling, her film club, and her friends. We know that there are those who would say that greatness does not come without a cost.
And I agree, to a certain extent, with that sentiment, however it was sobering to think about how much she would be giving up. And there would be losses on both sides of the equation. I would be losing my daughter for nine months out of the year, and that just didn't set well with me, it never has; so my initial reaction was "Hell no!" The grueling schedule of games, practices, conditioning, and the online schooling would keep her busy enough that we wouldn't talk all that often, and trips back and forth would be few. I would be missing her growth, and being part of her life. Everything would be a "you just had to be there" kind of moment and from a selfish standpoint, I wasn't sure I wanted to lose those moments.
I struggled to keep my opinions and feelings in check so as not to influence her, and we spent the next few weeks having many exhausting conversations. Towards the end of which my daughter revealed that she just didn't want to commit to it. As much as she loves hockey, it isn't all that she is. Without her other interests to sustain her, she just wouldn't be happy or fulfilled. It was the toughest and most mature decision I have witnessed her make, and I knew it was not easy, particularly when one of her teammates made the decision to be part of that same organization.
But each girl's commitment to the sport is different, and for some it is the right decision to chase the dream as far as it can take them. I applaud those girls, and their families, for going after it, and making those sacrifices.
But for me, I get to keep the goalie around for just a little bit longer, and that is a win in my book.