I have been lucky enough to call myself a hockey mom for the past 13 years. My son Matthew started playing when he was five years old. He had gone to the ice skating rink with his dad one Saturday afternoon just to skate around the rink. He had played t-ball and done some karate, but when he saw the players coming out of the locker room in their full gear and skates, he decided he wanted to play hockey. Now he had never seen a hockey game before and wasn’t even tall enough on his skates to look over the top of the goal net, but once his mind was made up, that was it. He was going to be a hockey player.
My hockey mom status started with me being (mostly) quiet during his early years. I became the obnoxious hockey mom during his high school years. Matthew made the Varsity high school team while still in middle school so yayyy – I had an extra year of high school yelling.
Hockey isn’t one of those sports where you sit quietly like you’re watching a chess match. Hockey is rough and tough. People are fighting. People are yelling at the coaches and the referees. People are banging on the glass. People are embarrassing themselves.
Wait. I’m talking about me.
That’s right. I’m the loud mouth hockey mom that all of the other parents avoid like I have leprosy. I’m the one decked out in my team’s colors and sometimes I even have a cowbell. I don’t sit down. I’m usually yelling. I sometimes bang on the glass and yell through the seams of the glass JUST TO BE SURE they heard me. And the other parent’s on the team act like they have never seen me before.
“Who is that?” the other team’s parents ask.
“Never seen her before! She looks a little crazy”, our team parents say.
And this all started when Matthew was in first grade. He’s 19 now, so that’s a lot of time to work on my yelling pitch.
Through the years my reputation grew to being a “lipstick-pitbull” (as Sara Palin called hockey moms). The game would begin and I would start yelling. Another parent would lean over and look down the bleachers and me and say “I wondered when you were going to get here.”
Yep. I had arrived. I rarely missed a game. I think in the 13 years I missed less than 15 games.
There were few that my fury would not be directed at. What is the coach thinking? Why is he playing that line instead of the other line? That kid he just put on the ice just got his training wheels off his skates. (No, not really. There aren’t training wheels on ice skates.)
The refs were not exempt. As a matter of fact, they received the brunt of my wise cracks.
“WHAT??? How on earth did you miss that penalty??? He was HIT FROM BEHIND you BONEHEAD! My 93 YEAR OLD GRANDMOTHER COULD HAVE SEEN THAT HIT!!!”
“HEY HOPKINS – you must have gone to Collins Hill High School since you’re not making any calls against them. Way to keep your Alma mater winning!!” Incidentally, we were playing Collins Hill that night.
Or even better…
“Hey Linkissy – YOU SUCK at reffing. And by the way – Tom Selleck called from 1986. He wants his humongous mustache back.”
And although I only started yelling at opposing players when my son got to the high school level, they were no less victims. (And don’t worry – what I yelled was G, I mean PG, I mean PG-13 rated.)
There was one guy who always played so dirty – the kind that would take a swing with his stick when the ref wasn’t looking, or checking from behind, or tripping the players with his stick. Penalties that could have caused another player serious injury should have been called and sometimes were. I didn’t like him AT ALL. His hockey pants were so shredded (from what I heard was what he thought was good luck) because he would put his skates on BEFORE his pants, so the blades of his skates would cause tears.
“Hey #81, we can see your pretty lacy panties because your hockey skirt is so ripped.” I would usually get the third finger salute back at me.
That’s right, #81. I just got under your skin. Let’s see how well you play NOW.
And now that my son has graduated and is going to a college that does not have a hockey team, I feel a little sad and melancholy. I miss the smell of the rink after the Zamboni has cut the ice. I miss the chill of the metal bench freezing me to my core.
I miss watching my favorite player and his teammates win two State Championships. Oh how I miss the game.
I ran into another hockey parent at the grocery store recently and I asked how the season was going. I felt a little stab of jealously since her son is still in high school and she is able to continue on with the weekly rituals of being at the rink.
“Yep, the team is playing pretty well” she said sweetly, “but some parents from the other teams were just saying that the games aren’t nearly as entertaining this season without your loud mouth there.”
Oh. My. Gosh.
I’m a legend.