Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday morning homily IX

As a hockey dad, I make no apologies for reliving my childhood through my son's eyes. The excitement that builds on Sunday mornings as we wait to get ready for that day's game. The pleading to practice one's stickhandling out on the back patio. The words of encouragement on the ride to the rink.

Though my work schedule means I miss most practices, I make sure to take an active role at games and other times through the week. I'm in the locker room, tying skates and adjusting shoulder pads. I'm in the stands, reminding him (loudly, sometimes) to skate hard and stay onsides. I'm the dad who runs him through skating drills at a shopping mall ice rink a couple times a month.

By revisiting the days of my youth, and applying the lessons learned in between, I pass along a knowledge that hopefully serves as a solid foundation of respect for a game we both love. Though he should always be a good sport, it's equally important to stick up for yourself and teammates. That an assist is worth the same as a goal. And that playing the body, not the puck, is the cornerstone of defense.

Most of all, though, my job is to make hockey fun. I compliment him on good plays -- head-up skating the puck out of the zone, making a nice bank pass off the boards and remembering to keep both hands on his stick and its blade on the ice. And he's never far from an ice cold bottle of fruit-punch-flavored G2 during a game.

Sure, he's been scolded for dogging it, as he did last Sunday, and not helping his team. Rather than screaming at him, as we've heard other parents do, we talk after games about commitment, teamwork and the rewards of hard work.

To me, it's all part of the learning process -- for both of us.

Changing of the hats

We just got finished with an annual tradition here at Hound Central 4.0's headquarters in Humidity Bay. Upon the completion of the baseball season, it's time to circulate our headwear for the new season. In fact, I'm wearing one of my favorites, a Hershey Bears (the Sabres' first farm team) cap that's finally starting to show some wear.

Our baseball caps, save for a few celebratory Rays hats, are put away for the winter, getting a well-deserved rest from a milder-than-normal summer. In their place, we now have hockey, from the NHL to college teams, and football (nothing but the Bills and Gators here) hats, more appropriate headwear for this time of the year.

Looking at the assortment, it's safe to say we're not lacking in choices. In fact, I'm a bit embarrassed by the number. It might be a good idea, I suppose, to cross off a few items from Christmas wish lists.

5 Big Sigs

With the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings playing Tampa Bay on Thursday, where's what we hope will be added to the collection after a full day of hounding and tickets to the game:

~ Red Wings and 2008 Stanley Cup Champions pucks from Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg;
~ Red Wings pucks from Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom;
~ If I'm lucky, a Red Wings puck and jumbo Victory card from Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk;
~ Detroit's Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky on the Slovakian team jersey; and
~ Tampa Bay's Steve Eminger on Lightning, Flyers and new Capitals pucks


Anonymous said...

I'm glad for you that you are the being the dad you never had and the one that you dreamed you did. Your Mom, Grandma and Grampa Saar would be proud!

Take care of yourself so that little boy has his daddy for many years to come!

Puckhound said...

Will do. Thanks.

I just wish they were all around to watch him grow up.