Monday, March 30, 2015

Hot as Hell (on the ice) Diary of a former Hockey Mom

My son is an ice hockey player, well he was two seasons ago when I was certain we were staying in Baltimore and the investment in a career hockey player was a sound one.  It took me two seasons to decide to stay in Maryland (at least through December).  Vester is back on the ice and he’s still hot.  He races around the rink with…well, not grace but speed.
When he was five my son started ice skating, he was a tiny liability on the ice, the little person people thought needed looking out for.  So, they recommended I teeter on the ice, to keep him safe.  So, donning ice skates and maternal attitude I slid out on the ice. 
Ok, that’s not quite how it happened. 
I sort of walked, sort of side stepped, holding on to the wall, and mainly crept along the edge of the rink as he sped in and out of people, raced other skaters, and did hockey stops back and forth across the ice in a spray of almost $1000 perfection.  It didn’t take long for the well meaning rink employees to suggest I leave the ice, perhaps it was only 2 or 3 people folded in my wake for them to realize I was not a strong skater. 
He started skating as a compromise. 
My son wanted a dirt bike and speed.  He got speed.  After a few lessons, one of the managers at Northwest gave him a pair of ice skates.  From there it was lessons, basic ice hockey skills, ice hockey practice and ice hockey games.  He was one of the youngest players on the team.  The first season his entire team played against one another, it was hilarious in a Bad News Bears sort of way.  My son was the only one checking kids, indiscriminate of color jersey. 
 By season two, the kids on his Mites team realized they were on the same team and that they were supposed to pass the puck to one another, by season three they knew to put the puck in the goal, in the other team’s goal came a few games later.  His father, slightly appalled at my son’s sport (my daughter plays volleyball) came to one, maybe two games over my son’s ice hockey career. 
Sylvester played baseball and basketball; he was an athlete enjoying privilege and popularity through high school.  Neither got him a scholarship to college, neither got him to college at all.
Sylvester told me black children don’t play ice hockey, well I know at least one who does.  Actually, there is a team of inner city kids, predominantly black, that my son does not belong to.  One day my son will learn that drive, not color, determines his opportunities, and until that day, his mother does. 

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