The Boy’s hockey association decided to try something a little different this off-season. They held a two day Midget mini hockey camp last week to try to gauge the level of interest for next year, to keep more players interested and to do a pre-assessment. The real tryouts are in the Fall. The turnout exceeded expectations as there were over 60 skaters and 12 goalies registered. There was an initial thought of only forming two teams (A and AA) next year, but the number of attendees may indicate the opportunity for a third. Of course, the number that show up for a mini camp in the Spring and the number that actually show up to try-out in August may tell a different story. There are a lot of other priorities for young men from cars and jobs to school and girls – and not necessarily in that order.
For some, like a certain hockey mom who shall remain nameless, the mini camp brought with it a realization that the Boy is now playing with men. At Midget, the age range is 16-18, which equals a noticeable difference in size and stature. The “boys” coming out of the dressing room who would be sharing the ice with the boy during the camp were by no means “boys”. Full beards, six-packs, other well-defined muscle mass and more than a few tattoos revealed grown men. After tryout one, the Boy himself quipped, “A few of us younger guys were thinking that maybe we should show up a the next skate with fake moustaches, just so we can fit in.” He likewise noticed the disparity. The Boy, with mild alarm, also said he had a pretty good idea where he could go if he needed to score (and not in the hockey sense). Another facet of growing up that’s even more front and centre at school among other places.
All that being said, we were heartened to see that the difference in size, strength and apparent maturity did not translate into a significant gap once everyone hit the ice. At this age, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge who’s playing to their full potential, however not too many stood out above the pack. The Boy, for his part and to my somewhat objective, if no ever-so-slightly biased eye, held his own over the two days. Hell, he is nearly six feet tall and pushing 170 lbs. so we shouldn’t really be surprised.
We will no doubt just always see him as the Boy with the emphasis placed on the youth that word connotes. And we also know he’s out there playing with a bunch of other parents’ Boys who, with resistance, have watched the same physiological changes, but beneath the surface will always love watching their little kids playing a little kid’s game.