Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Hockey Life: Returning a call

I must admit, I'm not a slave to my cellphone. Never have been. Hope to never be. To me, it's a tool, not a toy or, even worse, a status symbol. In fact, I use it more to check the time than anything else.

The easiest way I keep my phone from running my life is that it doesn't ring for incoming calls. Instead, it vibrates. As a result, I have a habit, one that may be viewed by some as bad, of missing phone calls. Just ask The Missus.

Last Wednesday night, as we played putt-putt golf in Madeira Beach, I missed another call. I never felt the phone vibrate. Even if I had, I likely wouldn't have answered. Family time is family time.

It wasn't until we returned home, when I was emptying my pockets, that I noticed two things: I'd missed a call and someone had left a message. Interesting, I remembered thinking. Who would be calling me at night, using a number I didn't recognize, and leave a message.

It should come as no surprise, especially to those who know me, that curiosity won out. Ever the journalist, it always does.

The message came from the coach of the Brandon Jr. Bulls Peewee A squad. He was calling to tell us that Colin had, indeed, made the team. He wanted to know whether Colin wanted to play. I knew our answer even before his message had ended. It took but a few seconds to call him back.

Of course, I told the coach, Colin would like to play for the Jr. Bulls squad. Even after disappointing news earlier this summer, we felt he had the abilities to play travel hockey. The coach's call confirmed that.

The call, though, went beyond the acceptance of Jr. Bulls' offer. After the particulars of costs, practice schedule and tournaments, we started talking about philosophies. Atop my list was the coach's approach to teaching. Given that very little took place last season, especially for the money we paid, this is important.

I was pleased to hear, especially within his voice, he looked forward to teaching the kids, individually and as a team. Of course, skating, passing and shooting drills play an important role. But so is teaching the game, he said, from seeing the big picture of the team game to working with players on their individual skills.

That's the answer I was looking for.

Of course, Colin was very excited at the news. He did what I asked him to do, skating and playing as hard as he could during the tryouts. Obviously, it got him noticed. Making the Jr. Bulls' roster was his reward.

The journey, no matter where hockey takes him, continues.

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