With hockey starting soon, I think it's good for me to reflect a little on the big changes that are happening this year, namely that we've left our old hockey program with completely bad vibes (on my part, N holds no grudges) and are playing in a new program over in the big city. It's a big change and one that I didn't think we'd ever make, at least not yet.
In the past, playing over in the big city always meant being more competitive and driven. It's a stronger program and churns out more high end players, which means that the parents have high expectations, i.e., they're way more intense. Then again, hockey parents are hockey parents, right? Several players from our old program moved over to the big city in the past because they wanted various things for out of it - from a bright future in the NHL of just parental bragging rights that their kids were in a kick-ass program. For full disclosure, the level of skill seems to drop off at the level that N is playing at, probably because the really high end players move on to select teams or go play at prep schools. It's still a solid program in the big city, just not at an elite level, which suits us just fine.
So given all the crap we had to endure last year at our old program, we made the decision to move over. There were many reasons for this change, most of them spiteful on my part, but it never would have happened if N didn't agree to it. His strongest motivator was the level of uncertainty in the old program. They go through this every year, never sure how certain teams are going to shape up, or if they're even going to have a team. This is the case with N's level, and as far as I can see, they are going to have a hard time putting together a team. Besides, despite all of my juvenile bad feelings for the old program, it would be nice to see N play on a team where his teammates were a little closer in skill level (at his old program, the players were all over the map), but more importantly, came out, worked hard, and gave some semblance of effort, i.e., didn't have crappy attitudes. This was rarely the case on his old team. In fact, I think it's fair to say that most kids on his team rarely, if ever, gave 100%. It was discouraging and telling at the same time.
Finally, N will more than likely do some high school work over in the big city, just like his sister, so this is the world that he will be inhabiting. It's not a bad time to get a foot in the proverbial door of this new environment. I'm not saying this is the promised land and we're going to have nothing but warm fuzzy feelings about life in the big city, but at this point, anything is better than being “over there” at the old program. I am done with that place.
This should be interesting, and like all things in our lives, will probably be filled with drama. I can't wait. At the very least, more of our lives are stationed over in the big city, including work, school, and friends. It's easier for us to get to the big city than the “other place,” (just a quick jaunt on the highway), there's way more to do in the big city (there's nothing going on “over there,” it's the epitome of dull), and a lot of these kids that are on his team will potentially be his future classmates. Coupled with my complete disdain for the old program, one could make the case that this change is a no-brainer. Then again, I could eat my words in a few weeks. You just never know.
Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and make changes where you think they're needed, especially if you're unhappy with your current situation. Life's too short to endure people treating you like crap, don't you think?
Until the next time, thanks for reading.