Battle midseason malaisePosted: December 30, 2013
We’re about halfway through the hockey season and it’s starting to wear on me. And judging by the crabby parents and a general malaise at the rink, I think the wear and tear of the season is getting to everyone.
The sparkle has worn off and we’ve settled in to a routine– go to practice, play a game. Go to another practice, then another. Sharpen skates. Book a hotel. Drive to a tournament. Play more games. Drive home. Sharpen skates. Wash jerseys and lucky t-shirts. No trophies this year; not yet anyway. Just a long slog through another seemingly endless hockey season.
No matter how much your kids enjoy playing, or how much you enjoy watching, at some point you kinda wish it would be over and you’d have your weekends and Tuesday nights back. And that people would pay their ice bills on time and the rink would get the schedule together. But I digress. So how to you fight the malaise? How do you restore some of the luster to a long season? Go back to the basics. Not basic skills. Basic FUN.
How to Fun
Yesterday, we had a family skate, which is why today I’m lubed up with BioFreeze and hooked to a steady drip of ibuprofen. It was team against family, which meant the girls played together, but this time their opponents were brothers and sisters, mom and dads. We had a parent ref to call offsides and drop the puck, but otherwise, it was a no-holds-barred, drop-in style battle. I don’t think any of us have skated that hard in months, maybe years. Afterward, sweaty faces and smiles all around.
Just a few days earlier, we took the game back to its roots– the frozen pond. We’ve had a pretty cold winter so far here in Michigan and have been able to get out a couple times already. After earning the ice time by clearing the snow, we pulled out the puck and got down to it. It was a couple hours of dodging rough spots and digging errant passes out of the snow bank, working on the celly, chirping like a flock of birds at the feeder and wiping drippy noses on coat sleeves. No drills, coaches, rules or buzzers. Just ice and fresh air and a hot chocolate while your toes thaw. It’s pure fun.
Another way to break up the routine? Party! This weekend, a teammate is hosting a casual hangout for players and families. No crazy team building exercises or anything. Just bring a dish to pass and come hang out. Not everyone can make it, but that’s okay. Attendance is not mandatory, but fun is.
Wednesday, we’ll join the hordes of hockey fans in the Big House, taking in the Winter Classic through binoculars from a row high up in the corner. Packed in like so many parka-wearing sardines, we’ll mingle with Maple Leaf fans and take in an Original Six match up as part of the largest crowd ever to watch an outdoor hockey game. No matter the outcome on the scoreboard, we’ll trundle out of the stadium wearing big grins.
When things start up again in earnest after the first of the year, we’ll all have benefited from this slow down and return to the basics. And maybe we’ll win some trophies, but maybe not. But we’ll be smiling well into March.