Sunday, August 12, 2012
The Hockey Life: Dedication
He busted his butt during the season, earning time on the penalty kill unit and, when the situation warranted it, the final minutes of a game. He showed up at every Friday night clinic, going just as hard as he would in a game. Still, it didn't matter. Colin didn't make the cut.
Sure, he was disappointed. Why shouldn't he be? It had little, we believe, to do with his abilities. Still, though, he knew it wasn't time to give up. That would be way too easy.
And that, my friends, would make him a quitter.
Instead, Colin used the experience as motivation. He kept skating, most every Wednesday at the mall rink as well as a few clinics here in Florida and New Hampshire. The patio out back was well-used, too, serving as his platform for shooting drills (10 to 12 rounds of 20 pucks each) four to five times a week.
Though he did what others kids do during the summer -- going on vacation, playing video games and chilling out -- Colin also worked on his game. Some times, he needed encouragement. Most times, though, he didn't. The sessions weren't chores. No, they were part of his summer fun.
Really, and I'm not being a daddy here, I wouldn't have blamed him if he wanted to take off the summer from hockey. For more than two-plus years, hardly a week went by when he wasn't on the ice. Taking a break, I suppose, was just what he needed.
That's why, for the most part, I've let him dictate his hockey schedule this summer. His Wednesday skating sessions -- some harder than others as I pushed him out of his comfort zone -- were a given. Anything else, from clinics to stick-and-shoots to his drills, were up to him.
So was trying out for the Jr. Bulls. With rec hockey available as an option, our thinking was that a season or two at that level, without as much pressure, might work in his favor. Colin, however, wanted more. Much more. He had something to prove -- that he could play the game.
He went into each of the three tryout sessions understanding that he had to stand out -- in a good way. There was no slacking off. It was going as hard as he could every time his skates touched ice. It was taking nothing for granted, as we had earlier in the summer. Instead, it was earning his keep.
Going forward, and the next step comes tomorrow night at his first official Jr. Bulls practice, the goal remains the same -- sweat and resolve reap rewards. Once again, it's time to work.