CharlieGirl wrote:Just finished reading that - a very thoughtful and insightful article by Sutch. This should be distributed to every hockey player on the planet, regardless of age or ability.
A good friend of mine has 2 boys, both played hockey, 1 at slightly above house league , but the older one played at higher levels. I'd try to go to see them once or twice a year , they were on the west island of Mtl so, I'd try and time it to see both of them play. The older one was what you'd call a 'good little player', but I could see how while he had some talent, he wasn't a dominant type. He'd make teams every second year, so anyone around any sport kind of gets that.
Artie and 'Not were active in minor hockey in the area and over the years, and when I'd see how much time and $ was involved in keeping your kid at that level, I'd ask them about it because I'd be shocked year after year. When the kid didn't make Midget AAA, they were devastated, but figured he would the next year. I don't think the parents felt entitled, but they assumed that it was just a natural progression. They started having problems with the kid as the pressure within the game increased, probably his last year bantam, and from the outside, I figured the old man needing him to make these teams had a lot to do with it. He played at whatever level you play at when you don't make AAA and I could almost see relief in his body language.
My pal would make comments to me about how A], his son was a victim of politics B] the kids from Quebec's Sport Etude programs were getting preferential treatment, but I watched and while the kid was good, that's all it was.
So it's been 4 years or so now, 3 or 4 kids that he played with have been drafted, and the kid still seems lost in a lot of ways because the family wrapped his identity up in the sport that he played. He's out of school, talks about career opportunities but seems detached as to who he is or how he fits in. I'd go to family events, I'm kind of extended family to them, and his Dad's cousins would joke about how he'd tale care of them all when he'd make it big. I'd cringe because that's all they knew about him. No idea what kind of music or food he liked, just that he played hockey.
I mentioned a couple of posters who had seen him play and they more or less confirmed what I saw, good little player, but he aged out and it was time to move on. I don't think it ever occurred to him that moving on was something he'd have to consider. I don't know if he ever defined hockey to himself as a hobby or a future. When this happens with your everyday bantam/midget player, I can only imagine how a 20 year old Major Junior player feels when it's all winding down.