Coaching a team and taking care of kids can be similar in a lot of ways. Children are like young players looking up to their coach, who is going to teach them the tricks of the game, and pass on the legacy of the sport.
My mother had five players to develop in her team, and she would jokingly refer to us as her “tiny hockey team,” with her being the head coach and my father the referee.
Unless my father's name is Jon, hers Kate; and with eight kids they have a show that is bringing thousands of dollars per episode, five kids wasn’t a piece of cake.
We are four boys and one girl, and the elders would practice hockey tricks on the younger ones; tricks such as hits and slapshots for that matter.
She even eventually bought us paper plates since we were trying accuracy shootings on her regular ones!
But we had so much fun, and despite the stress, she loved watching us.
My mother always believed in sports as a way of family gathering. Every one of her five kids is different from the others; but if there was one subject that we would agree on, it was sports; especially hockey.
For her, sports has always been a healthy way to escape from everyday life, and create a balance between entertainment and work.
She also made us understand the most basic values through sports. She taught us to respect people that we do not necessary agree with; because opposition creates challenge, and without challenge, there is no progress.
She taught us the importance of hard work and always taking a chance; there won't be any goal if there is no shot.
She told us to make the most of every opportunity, but always within the rules: there is nothing that can be done from the penalty box.
Just like a coach behind the bench, she gave us a tap on the shoulder whenever we did right. She would still do it otherwise, reassuring us that it was alright as long as it wouldn't happen again. And if it happened again, she would have repeated the same trick!
She always made sure we were standing for each other, as she never tolerated any of us selling one another behind their back. “Your family is like your team, it is all that you can rely on, she said, they will back you up during tough times. So back them up.”
She taught us to be loyal to the things we truly believe in. From our favourite team to the principles that we stand for, she said that passion will build our patience and resistance.
None of us have turned out to be a hockey player; and frankly, our hockey abilities are only worthy of Tim Hortons’ Hockey Timbits commercials; with all due respect to those cute kids.
But just like old times, our best family moments always consist of gathering around a sporting event, and we owe most of what we are to her.
Happy mother’s day to all the mommies!