We had a rough weekend last week mainly because it entailed so much driving, and as I mentioned, some of it was of my own doing. I encouraged N to try out for a spring hockey program that is sort of a select team, though not as hardcore as some of the programs out there. Several of his teammates did it last year and I thought he should at the very least give it a try. I made it clear that it didn't matter if he even wanted to play in the games, or for that matter, make the team. I really just wanted him to relax, have some fun, and give it a try. It's not easy to put yourself out there and face potential rejection, but there's value to at least trying.
In years past I tried to encourage N to try out for assorted select teams because I felt like he was good enough and I think it would have been good for him to get more practice and experience under his belt. Mind you, I wasn't thinking elite AAA teams, but more along the lines of accomplished players learning the game and getting more time on the ice. This would help him develop as a player and have fun doing what he loves - playing hockey.
Well, whenever I tried to broach the subject, he always seemed to balk. I wasn't about to force the issue because this is something he's got to want to do, but needless to say the OCD/neurotic side of me was screaming on the inside, "Don't you want to get more ice time and practice?" In retrospect, I realize how ridiculous I was being, but hockey has a way of doing it to you. That and spending too much time with Mr. Hockey.
Either way, another reason that I thought it might not be a bad idea to try out for a select team or two was that there are life lessons in putting yourself out there and taking chances, not to mention falling short and failing. Now nobody wants to fail, and nobody wants their kid to fail, but let's be realistic - we fail at more things in life than we succeed. A is good about this, she has tried out for many things, some have worked out, some have not, but it never seems to discourage her from trying. I really admire that. While I can't say with certainty why exactly N doesn't want to try out for these things, the one thing I don't want to happen is for him to avoid trying because he's afraid of failing or not making the squad. I understand why he might feel this way, if he feels this way, but that's no way to go through life, especially for something that is not life or death, and especially for something that you're reasonably good at.
N is good at a lot of things, but he's a jock at heart. He hasn't been tested in the context of competing with his peers with too many things. It just hasn't come up, though it will as he gets older. It's important to at least try and if you make it, great, but if you don't, there are character lessons that will help you cope with the next big adventure. I wasn't sure how to broach the subject with him other than being forthright, so I just spelled it out to him. I told him it doesn't matter if he ever plays a game with these guys or if he even makes the team. What's important is that you don't avoid it because you're worried you won't make it and thus never try.
I'm being way too prolix so I'll bring this to an end. In the end he agreed to try out for the team. It was all the way up in Burlington, early in the AM, which displeased him greatly, but he went along with it. Originally I didn't want to watch him to make him self-conscious. Plus, I was feeling a bit neurotic about the whole thing, but I ended up lacing up my skates and actually helped out with the tryout. Can you believe that? Afterward we had double cheeseburgers and he got a chocolate milkshake for his suffering, and he even said that he had fun. It helped that some of his buddies were there with him. Since I ended up on the ice, I basically watched the entire tryout and truth be told, I thought he looked pretty good out there.
I'll leave it at that. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mercyhurst ACHA Hockey for the pic.