So what happened to all those we kids left behind? More than likely they’re happily playing for whomever. They will go to practice, skate hard, listen to the coach, spend too much time getting undressed and go home. They will show up for games, play their position, work hard and go home. Then there’s time for everything else…school, social activities and, of course, girls (or boys).
So what’s really changed?
They, both my boys – different teams and different clubs – are really happy. They’re playing with their friends. They’ve made new ones. They’re playing on teams that want to compete. Most important: They’re having FUN. Imagine that, kids just playing for fun? Will no parent or adult in Hockey Edmonton/Alberta/Canada intervene?
Still, the best part is that the exodus was instigated by the players themselves. The kids that stayed I’m sure are having fun. A case for the contrary, unfortunately, was relayed to me by a Dad who’s midget aged boy still plays for K of C. Things are not so good. There’s personality conflicts and in- fighting. He, the player’ s dad, says the boy would move down to fit in rather than stay. He hasn’t left yet but sounds like he might. I don’t believe he is the only one.
The “Tier-ing” could actually be part of the problem. Yes the level of play on paper is equal; the ages and years of experience are also considered. However, I submit, if it were back to “who ever shows up also plays” you would have an unbalanced team in terms of skill but you would also have the hierarchy that exists today in all organizations. The bottom players improve because they have to try to keep up. The skilled players have to lead. Everyone has a role that really extends beyond the team and into the community. A good team will show the lessor skilled players how to lead and the skilled players how to mentor and be a better person. The hockey may not be as exciting but we are talking about the kids who just want to play and not become part of the “machine”. Those elite players are driven, focused and inspired to play a game they are very good at. Many house league players have the same if not better skills, what they lack is between the ears – and count your lucky stars.
But that’s another article, isn’t it.
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