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Riding the Waves

April 13, 2011
by JRiddall

The hockey dad life ebbs and flows like the ocean. We’re in a small ebb now, but a killer wave is rising in the near distance. You go from spending an inordinate amount of time in rinks watching your two kids and their teams play here, there and everywhere to having time to scrub the deck, scrape the barnacles and watch The Masters. Don’t get me wrong; the break is welcomed.  I’m sure the Boy and Devil, who put in way more physical, if not psychological, effort than we do, will concur. They no doubt become a little weary of their lengthy time at sea.

The end of the kids’ hockey seasons actually coincides nicely with the start of the NHL hockey playoffs and the Major League Baseball season.  I’m a self-admitted big sports fan.  Hell, I’ll even watch darts or billiards in a pinch. But its never quite the same as watching your own. Rooting for them. Urging them on.  Reveling in their wins. Agonizing over their losses. The legions of hockey parents who, like us, usher their kids to rinks across the nation no doubt get the same rush from participating in the game.

In a couple of weeks, I get to begin participating at yet another level as a head coach – Captain of me own ship if you will. My rooting, urging, reveling, agonizing will have to be tempered with delegating, mentoring, leading – coaching. I will have a group of players, coaches, parents looking to me for guidance – measuring my ability to affect team and individual successes – the criteria for which will differ with nearly every player and parent.

As a new coach/pirate, I will unashamedly beg, borrow and steal ideas, insights and techniques from sea-farers and salty dogs I’ve worked with in the past or those who wish to provide assistance as the season progresses. I’ve already begun compiling a library of evaluation forms, drills, season plans, preliminary schedules and budget documents – all necessary tools in running a tight ship.

Beyond the selection of the team, which deserves a full examination of its own, one of my first priorities will be identifying my support group of manager, assistant coaches, trainers and others. The emphasis will most certainly be on teamwork.  I will rely on these crew members to help steer the ship – keep it on a somewhat even keel. Opinions will be welcomed and measured. Suggestions will be applied within the context of a course we’ve charted for the season.  We will surely encounter our share of unsettled waters as all ships inevitably do.  The full measure of a crew is one who works hard through to a see journey’s successful end.

I guess this has all been a prelude to saying I’m nearly ready to set sail on my maiden voyage.  All aboard who’s comin’ aboard!

#imahockeydad

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