One of my team building goals for the Devil’s team this season was to get the players involved in some sort of community or charity-based event. The Boy’s teams have always seemed to do something like this, but the same has been lacking on the girls side. I had mentioned this to the Devil herself before our first official team meeting. She suggested that we find a charity walk to participate in; which seemed appropriate for a sports team. In fact, she even did a little research and identified a couple of local walks including one in support of Juvenile Diabetes – again I thought an appropriate choice. I kept that notion in my back pocket as an option, but wanted to present the entire concept to my parent group to see if they had any other ideas. Other possibilities that popped to my mind were a Christmas toy drive, which the Boy had done in previous years or a charity hockey game where we would charge an admission fee for one of home regular season matches then invite friends and relatives to attend with the cause in mind and their wallets in hand.
Having proposed the idea to the team, it took only one day to identify a clear and quite coincidental winner. Unbeknownst to me, one of my chosen goalies with whom I’d had no previous history because she is from out of town, was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes at the age of three. Her mother asked if we would be interested in participating in the aforementioned walk, which was decided on without hesitation. This walk would serve the multiple purposes of team building, sponsoring a very worthy cause, educating our young ladies about the disease and ultimately supporting a teammate. The importance of the latter was not lost on me or several others, who stepped up in numbers to raise funds and awareness. I was pleased to have all 17 members of the team and several parents make themselves available pretty early on a less-than-sunny, Summer Sunday morning. Only a last minute flu bug got in the way of us having a full squad. Even our injured player showed up with a wheelchair in tow to be pushed around the relatively short, though occasionally bumpy, 5k course. There was no shortage of volunteer drivers – a couple of whom thought wheelchair wheelies would be a grand idea. The helpless passenger’s shrieks would indicate otherwise. Though the shrieks would, of course, only prompt more wheelies.
I was able to procure some jerseys from our hockey association for the walk. We looked great as a group in red, white, blue and yellow with trademark Sharks on our chests if I do say so. Even an event organizer commented that it was awesome to see a full team taking part and thanked us for attending. We made our way through the walk without incident, though there were some nervous moments when the entire team decided to jump up and down on a floating dock out on the lake prior to an ideal photo op.
On the team building front, I thought the girls started to gel…at least a little…and as expected. There are still a few who have or haven’t played together before who tended to either stick together or keep to themselves. In all, it feels like we have a good group. I think it was a solid start with an excellent cause as a backdrop. The girls did a good thing. They should all be proud of their efforts. Some smiles and giggles around hot dogs and watermelon at the end proved that they had some fun to boot. For some, like the Devil, that fun included a jumping castle and inflatable slide. Yup, my kid is 13 going on 7 and I’m just fine with that…thank you very much.
Next up, a little optional dry land training, scheduled for once a week throughout the Summer, where they can commiserate as a group in their expected muscle and mental fatigue.