When my nephew began playing hockey several years back, I thought it was the cutest thing ever. Then my sister-in-law became a hard core hockey mom and I thought it was hilarious. She was a cheerleader growing up and I swear it’s in her blood; quite literally a part of who she is. But more than that, her mama bear claws began to show. Then, this season, my brother-in-law decided to try his hand at coaching. At first I laughed. My grumpy ol’ brother-in-law as a coach was a hilarious thought in the moment. But then as the year progressed the intensity grew. My in-laws were completely sucked into the hockey world. It’s an intense place to be. Their entire life was hockey.
With each game I attended, I began to notice a trend – the parents were more intense about the game than the kids! I remember leaving one game a couple of minutes early because I was actually terrified to see the two groups of parents interact after the buzzer sounded – no joke!
As a girl who isn’t really a fan of the sport – just a super fan of the boy playing – it took me some time to wrap my mind around the whole concept. I remember on several occasions, thinking to myself, “They’re 9 . . . they’re just 9!”
And although I’ll never allow myself to get sucked into the world of hockey politics, I just love watching that little boy (and his teammates!) grow and nurture his skills. He lives and breathes the sport and to see that kind of passion in a 9 year old is amazing. So amazing, that two weeks ago I thought my heart would leap from my chest as I watched him play in the Cougar Memorial Hockey Tournament. It was their gold medal game and the intensity in the arena was thick. It was down to the last 3 minutes and I remember cussing constantly (and lowly). My heart was racing, they had a one goal lead and in just a couple of minutes the gold medal would be theirs. They played their little hearts out and kept their lead, causing the place to literally erupt in applause, whistling and screams. My hands stung from the cold of holding my camera and clapping so damn hard. Not only had they won the game, they had swept the entire tournament.
And it was a given I was going to capture the moment(s).