Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Hockey Life: Mother's Day

For as long as I can remember, the Pinellas Police Athletic League Stars team has practiced, a pretty sweet tradition for Mother's Day. Before a game, either on the day of or before the annual holiday, the kids gather and give their mothers a single rose -- a symbolic gesture of love.

This past Sunday was no different.

Before the Stars' 6-4 victory in the Tampa Bay Metro League championship, the kids gathered in the rink's lobby to thank their mothers for all of their support -- from taking them to practices, clinics and games, to washing smelly jerseys and airing out gear to, basically, being their child's biggest champion. In case you didn't know it, a hockey mom's job isn't easy.

Some of my favorite moments within Colin's hockey have been watching Lisa watch her little boy play. I love seeing the pure joy in her eyes when he scores a goal. I'm proud every time her Momma Bear mentality kicks in whenever a penalty committed against him goes uncalled. And I sit back and nod in approval at the times she has gotten after Colin to start hustling (Listen to your Momma, boy!).

There have been times, though, when Colin forgets that his Momma is his biggest supporter. In a way, though, it's not his fault. He seldom sees her in her finest moments -- sticking up for him when, for any number of reasons, I've wanted to pull the plug on our little hockey adventure.

Over the past year or so, there have been times, based on less-than-stellar grades, forgetting to turn in completed homework for the umpteenth time, a continued lack of hustle or major steps backward in his behavior, when Colin has been told by yours truly that he's done with playing hockey.

To me, the opportunity to play hockey is a privilege. It isn't a birthright. In his case, Colin must continue to earn his ice time, even before he gets on any team, so he learns the value of hard work.

Yet, every time he has faced a suspension, so to speak, it was his Momma who pleaded his case and, ultimately, won the appeal. If that doesn't make her a hockey mom, I don't know what would.

And, that's why, beyond any flowers, brunches or presents that moms will receive today, every hockey player, no matter the age, needs to give their hockey mom a gigantic, game-winning hug and a well-deserved thank you for all they do. Especially, for the stuff they don't see.

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