The season is done. We have travelled together from Nashville to Chicago, Notre Dame University, and Atlanta. We have washed piles of sweaty clothes and gear. Cheered until we were hoarse and poured over video of the games.
Hockey season is long. We start to feel it a little by the fifth month in, and yet after the last game we are always sorry the season is done. This year was one of our best, even though we didn’t win every game. Even though it was tough. Especially this last weekend.
We played three teams a division above us, and they beat us three games in a row. Then Sunday morning at the consolation game, it came together and we walked away from the last game of the season with a win.
What is the point of all of this? What is the point of the cheering and the raised blood pressure as we watch these kids skate like mad, take and give some major hits, shoot every chance they get and make some amazing saves? At the end of the day, what is the point beyond some bragging rights?
Oh, there are so many points. Especially as a homeschool family, there is so much value in sports, or arts, or drama, or music. We get to sit in the stands and watch our kids go out and give their all for something they love. Whatever that something is. For us, right now, it is hockey for the eldest. We get to watch as he takes instruction from someone else, as he learns things we cannot teach him. We get to watch as he bonds with a team and recognizes the responsibilities of being part of something beyond just himself.
We get to cheer him on.
We get to sit and watch our kids do something they love, and we get to stop the busyness of life and just watch. Just focus and watch our kids. Look at them and realize how incredibly wonderful it is to be a parent. The kids are working and sweating and learning lessons like responsibility and discipline and perseverance. The coach is taking over the moment for us and teaching and guiding.
We get to just watch. There are not enough moments where we get to do this. Our kids notice. It is important.
Even when they are losing.
We lost a lot this weekend. Three of the four games. And here is a second point to the worth of these activities. We need to learn how to lose and not have the world fall apart. We need to learn how to lose and get back up the next morning and try again. Our kids need to learn this. Three times the boys showed up, played hard…and lost. Then Sunday morning they showed up…and won.
I know. It’s just a game. Just a play. Just an art piece. Just a performance.
Nah. It’s life. I’m thankful for coaches who guide our kids, who make them work hard and yell at them when they are slacking or encourage them when they are trying. I’m thankful for groups of parents who come together and cheer and encourage and delight in our kids.
That’s what it comes down to. Zach isn’t going to make a career of hockey. This is a moment. We’ll blink and these days will be over.