|My source of motivation at work: "A journey must begin with a single step."|
About this time a year ago, we entered what was a new circle for us -- travel team hockey. Colin had made the Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning Squirt A squad. And like I said last week, it has been a steep learning curve. In the week since then, we've learned another lesson.
For as much as we hoped that Colin would make one of the organization's two Peewee squads, given his solid season and increased responsibilities, we knew it was possible that he wouldn't make a team. In the end, he didn't make the cut for either the AA or A squad.
I must admit we were a bit stunned, at first, by the news. The Missus said he looked good going through the drills. He even scored a goal and added two assists during the scrimmage. We knew that making the AA squad was a remote possibility. The A squad, we thought, was where he'd land.
Immediately after getting the call from one of the assistant coaches, delivered with a touch of glee, I knew it had little to do with his abilities. And though it took a few days to confirm it, the decision not to add Colin to either roster boiled down to three factors:
~ One coach said that though he appreciated Colin's hard work, he was unable, despite spending the past few months focusing on them in weekly drills and "pond hockey" scrimmages with this coach, to crack the AA roster.
~ It seems that Colin got under the skin of one too many people, be it kids and coaches, for talking (about hockey, Colin says) to players while waiting for his turn, apparently "annoying" one kid in particular, and being way too rambunctious in the locker room. "After a while," the coach told The Missus, "you get tired of dealing with it."
~ Popularity, politics and personalities, as any parent involved with youth sports will attest, delivered the last blow.
As a parent, you always want your child to succeed -- in academics, athletics and in life. If they don't, you want logical, consistent and honest answers. In all three cases, I have little room to argue. That doesn't mean, though, that I won't.
Point by point:
~ Going forward, we'll look for coaches who do more teaching during the season than simply running the kids through drills. Making sure all adults who stand behind the bench are properly licensed will be important, too.
~ This is the most valuable lesson. As much as I've stressed to Colin that hockey is fun, he needs to understand that he has to approach it in a serious manner. If he ever wants to go anywhere in this game, there's little time for goofing off. I think he got the point this time.
~ This one is solely on me. Let's just say that I didn't have complete confidence in the lower two-thirds of last season's staff. Through two incidents, which have been discussed here before, both knew that. Once I learned late Friday night that they were coaching the Peewee A squad, it became crystal clear -- a son was paying for his father's sins.
From where I stand, I haven't burned any bridges. All I'm doing is stating my opinion based on fact and observation. If others disagree, there's little I can do about that.
What I can do, though, is put Colin in the best position to succeed. If it means playing rec hockey for a few seasons, giving him time to build up his skills, so be it. There's more than one team here in the Tampa Bay area. The prospect of saving some money, too, holds great appeal.
Bottom line, buddy boy, I still believe there's something special ahead. So should you. All we can do is use this as motivation to prove people wrong. I don't think of this as a step back. It's the first step in a new journey.