Although we've exposed him to a variety of sports, Robby has been insistent that he is a hockey player. There is no doubt that he has worked hard to achieve this goal. He began skating nearly two years ago and, although it took him over a year to progress to qualify for the hockey lessons, he remained dedicated to the sport. If his hard work wasn't proof enough that he wanted to play hockey, the smile that shines on his face every time he takes the ice is certain enough confirmation. When he pads up, puts on his blades, and grabs his stick, he is a happy little boy!
Throughout the past year Robby has progressed through the various hockey levels. We are currently in Hockey 4, which is the final class before he is assigned to a team. He works on fundamentals, drills and (his favorite) scrimmaging with other groups. While he isn't the best skater in his class, I agree with his coach when he says that he has yet to find a student who will try harder than Robby. He never gives up, he works hard, and he takes all of the instruction he receives to heart.
Last week Robby's coach set up a scrimmage among the players. Before they began, Coach Mike took the opportunity to motivate his young players. Apparently at some point during the pep talk he referenced the importance of keeping "smack talk" respectful and friendly. Robby, not knowing what he meant by "smack talk" asked for clarification. Coach Mike told him that talking "smack" meant saying something to the opponent to throw them off their game or to cause them to become distracted but stressed the rule remaining both respectful and nice. After reviewing all of the rules and roles, the squad was divided and the little game began.
As a Mom, it is so much fun watching my child play the sport he adores. Although he was on the other side of the rink, I could see the determination on his face every time he gained control of the puck. I appreciate that his coach works hard to put the emphasis on teamwork and skills instead of winning. There is going to be plenty of opportunities for competition, I'm glad that right now he can just focus on learning and having fun.
Okay, even though I am stressing the "having fun and learning" aspects of hockey, part of me was elated when I saw Robby glide across the ice with the puck. As he approached the goalie, my heart began to beat faster and I felt a surge of adrenaline. I did refrain from throwing my arms up in victory while screaming "Way to go Robby, show them how it's done" when he shot the puck right past the goalie into the net. (I don't promise I will always be so restrained.)
I could tell by the look on his face that Robby was as proud of himself as we were of him. At the end of the scrimmage he triumphantly skated to the side of the rink where he verbally recounted every detail of his goal. I only wish he hadn't described his victory so loudly.
"Momom, did you see me get that goal? I got the puck and just skated super fast. When I got close to the goalie I talked smack just like Coach Mike said. Do you want to know what I said? (He never paused for my answer.) I told that kid hey look over there, I can see your Mom's privates. He looked, and I shot the puck right in."