Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Hockey Life: Tryouts

The past year has been, to say the very least, a wicked steep learning curve when it comes to hockey. After three-plus years of skating and playing organized hockey in some fashion, Colin embarked late last spring upon our real-world journey into travel team hockey down here in Florida.

Repeat that to yourself. Travel team hockey in Florida. Sounds weird, right?  Even today, I smirk at the concept. Growing up in western New York, hockey was, to me, a northern sport, played well above the Mason-Dixon Line and in the land of four true seasons.

But here we are, far closer to Cuba than Canada, fully engulfed in travel team hockey. In Florida. In the land of sunshine, palm trees and 90 percent humidity, this afternoon will find Colin, who picked up an assist in two games earlier today, back at the rink.

In less than an hour, as I sit here at home and wonder, Colin will take to the ice to try out for one of two (I believe) Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning fall Peewee squads. I'd be there, if for nothing more than to rate his competition and handicap his outcome, but I'll be at work, putting out another edition.

Maybe that's for the best. He won't have the pressure of my eyes watching his every move, making mental notes and, quite honestly, living and dying with every stride. Yes, I'm one of those hockey dads. Know what? I don't and won't ever apologize for that. It's my right and, to be honest, it's my job.

Colin's job this afternoon remains the same -- skate as hard and play the best that he can. That's what got him on last fall's Squirt A squad. Even with increased competition this year, his effort and growing skill level should be enough.

Also working in his favor, too, is that he's a known commodity. Over the course of the past season, he worked his way into critical minutes of ice time -- killing penalties and protecting leads. And, no matter the score, Colin played hard until the final buzzer. As I've said many, many times, that's the type of player we're raising.

Still, there are no guarantees he'll make this year's squad. If he does, that's great. It'll be yet another reward for his hard work. If he doesn't, there's always rec hockey. Really, though, it's up to him.

All I can say, buddy boy, is skate hard, play hard and, as always, have fun being a pest.

Addendum 5:35 p.m.: Hearing that about 60 kids tried out for the Peewee teams. Colin hit the ice at 4:45 p.m.

Addendum 6:04 p.m.: Tryouts are over. The coach says he'll try to let everyone know in three to four days.

Addendum 7:16 p.m.: Colin checked in. He scored a goal and had two assists during the scrimmage portion of the tryout. Wicked proud, buddy boy.

Addendum June 13: Colin didn't make the team.

Addendum, June 16: Finally heard why Colin didn't make the team. Stay tuned.

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