There's a definite reality in my life and I face it every weekend. I am a hockey mom. I'm sure many of you can relate to the amount of time that is spent in hockey arenas and travelling to and from them. While you're all collectively rolling your eyes, having lived the experience, the outcome is all good.
My two younger daughters both play hockey. This takes up a lot of time, particularly on the weekends when there are sometimes four to six games and/or practices scheduled between the two of them.
Sometimes the drive to the arena can take over an hour and a half. I spend more time in the car than I do actually watching a hockey game.
But last weekend brought it all home for me. Alexandra, my middle child, had an out-of-town tournament with her team. The round-robin tournament started on Friday; the semi-final game was on Sunday morning and the final on Sunday night.
And, while I don't deny there's a underlying hope that we all get to have a family dinner together (Come on! I know all parents who have children involved in team sports can relate), there's another part of me that's so excited and full of adrenalin that I want to get on the ice with a stick myself. I am so proud to say that she won the championship!!
Teams sports can be demanding. Practices have to be fit in between hectic weekends of games and practices. The players, all teenagers and seniors in high school, also have lots of homework and serious exam schedules -- not to mention other extracurricular activities besides hockey. It takes dedication. It takes gumption. It means going to a practice at the end of a hard day, after school, tests, sometimes a basketball game after school, and dinner. You don't think you can squeeze enough juice out of you to get that practice in.
Tournaments are the same. Game Friday night, two or three games on Saturday and a couple more on Sunday, if you go into the finals. That's six hours or more of intense hockey in one weekend; not including the shootouts!
But any athlete will tell you this is what you have to do. It's simply not possible to just decide to run a half marathon without putting in the hours of running and training into it. My body is less healthy and fit if I slack off or don't work out. And more importantly, my mind is not a healthy and fit either.
I am proud of Alexandra and her entire team. This is their first tournament win and she was glowing with pride when she showed me her trophy. What I am most proud of, though, is her choice to be healthy and do regular exercise. It is so important to start this way of life at a young age. Habits are deeply entrenched when you start then. As parents, we can also help educate them about the benefits of exercise. We can also be role models, and practice what we preach.
Doing so may save their life one day, or even prevent them from suffering a chronic disease. It may also do the same for you! Alexandra inspires me to be my best. I hope that I do the same for her; and more importantly, that she becomes that role model for her children down the road. She is off to a great start!