The title of this post should be your warning that if you don’t want to hear me gloat….read no further.
Ok. There. We got rid of them. The rest of you can buckle in for a minute…or two.
Joey likes to tell me that the majority of my posts are about drinking….or things related to drinking. One of Joey’s good friends teased me a couple of weeks ago that all I do is write about sushi and my boys eating sushi. Neither of them are far off, I suppose.
So, today I’m going to write about one of my boys…his amazing hockey team championship (which was cause for a few drinks afterwards)…and I’ll even mention that when asked what he wanted to eat for dinner on Friday to gear up for two giant Championship games…he said “sushi.”
Seriously though. I almost can’t even believe how crazy proud I’ve been of Thatcher this hockey season. He’s worked hard, had some amazing games, and had a bit of a slump. He has scored hat tricks, chased the puck, passed the puck, and done his far share of stopping the puck. He has celebrated his teammates’ successes with minimal showboating and he has accepted constructive criticism humbly.
More importantly than just Thatcher…the entire team has grown, learned, improved, and rallied. Equally as fun…many of the parents have laughed, cheered, and bonded. As a family we’ve made some friends this season that we hope we’ll continue to play and cheer with for many, many years to come.
Thatcher started the Learn to Skate program with Cape Ann Youth Hockey when he was just under 3 1/2 years old. He pushed the milk crate, cried a few times, and was soon off and skating. For three full seasons he then participated in the CAYH Cross Ice Program. He learned skills, met some great friends, and grew to love playing more each year. It didn’t take long at all for us to realize that hockey was to continue being a part of our lives for a long, long time.
During those three years I often joked with friends who were parents of slightly older children. “When do they actually start playing games?” I mean, don’t get me wrong, practices, drills, and mini scrimmages were cute and all, but after 4 full years I was ready to cheer during a full-fledged game.
This year….was that year.
This year’s hockey season started waaaay back in October…and ended yesterday. The team started off slowly with a couple of wins, a tie, and then three losses in a row. And then….something happened. Something clicked. And, forgive me….but, the winning started. This amazing little team of 7 and 8 year-olds started to become somewhat unstoppable. To say that it was fun to watch is an insane understatement. PLEASE don’t get me wrong….losses would have been fun to watch too…and I swear I still would have been crazy proud of that little team…but, to watch their success play out weekend after weekend as they hugged, high-fived, laughed, and celebrated gave me giddy goosebumps. I tear up each and every time I watch Thatcher score. Seriously, each and every time. I’m tough on Thatch…I expect a lot of him when it comes to manners, participation, hard work, politeness…pretty much you name it. That having been said, there is something about watching him skate so effortlessly and observing him be a part of a team….while we sit back and watch from afar that leaves me in awe. It is never lost on me, and forgive me for throwing it out there…but it’s a big part of why I’m ridiculously emotional about him right now…that several doctors recommended that I end my pregnancy with Thatcher. There are quiet moments that happen almost daily when I think, Thank God. This weekend, for whatever reason, I thought that every second that I watched him play. Thank God.
I love what he has gained from playing hockey. I adore the player and the teammate that he has become. I am thankful to all of those within the CAYH organization…especially this year’s coaches.
As the Cape Ann Mite Hybrid team went undefeated from November 16th, all through December, past January, into February, and unbelievably all the way to the end of the season this March, I saw changes in Thatcher that crept up on me and caught me off guard. While I was so eager for him to play those “real” games….I wasn’t prepared for how grown-up he’d seem out there on the ice….not needing me for a second. Like all parents, I’m an integral part of every other single aspect of Thatcher’s life. But hockey…is all him….and his teammates and coaches (one of which happens to be my husband).
So, the regular season wrapped up with Cape Ann in 1st place. With a first round bye, the play-offs only consisted of two make-it-or-break-it games for this little engine that could.
A 6-0 Shutout Win for rockstar goalie Luke Holmes (coined Luuuuuke-There-It-Is) by his teammates…who probably don’t even know that song…solidified the team’s journey to the Championship game yesterday at the Haverhill Valley Forum.
I am by no means a sports reporter so I won’t try to regale you with the details, but let’s just say that the game started with Cape Ann down 0-3 pretty quick into the first period and, wrong or not, dread started to creep into my spine. While we did eventually settle in and start to score, there was never a time during the game…and until maybe the very last minute….that there was any relief.
A final score of 8-7 led to some tears, an explosion of cheers, some tackling of a goalie who had another phenomenal game, and some deep, deep sighs of relief. Would it have been ok if they lost? Of course. Would be still have celebrated a tremendous season? You betcha. But… Am I secretly, almost ashamedly, beyond proud of those little skaters because of their Championship Season? I’d be lying if I said “no”.
I laugh even as I write this…because he’s 7 and it was a Mite Championship…but, I just can’t help myself but to feel so proud. I have taught students who are now playing college sports on scholarship, I have friends whose children are winning State Championships, I even graduated with a classmate whose son plays in the NBA. I rode in two World Series Rolling Rally Parades and stood on the field with all of the members of the winning Red Sox teams game after game. Gosh knows all of their parents felt proud. But yet…right now…while my little champion carries on, I can’t imagine how a parent could ever feel more proud.
Congratulations Cape Ann Mite Hybrids and Valley League Champions! You should all be incredibly, incredibly proud.