I have never understood mens’ passion for sports. I often tease my husband that he’s always doing one of the following: playing hockey on his Playstation, watching a hockey game, reading hockey updates or highlights online, reading a hockey magazine, or reading hockey updates on his phone. I, however, care nothing for hockey. I do not enjoy sports at all and never have. I don’t like to use the word hate, so I won’t, but very strong dislike might apply in this case. When our son was born, I knew that there was a chance that he would take after his father and his love for hockey. But I never, for a second, thought that he would become completely obsessed with the sport. And I never thought it would start so soon.
I have never met a child so passionate about something at such a young age. He’s going to be two in just over a month and would like to play hockey from the time that he wakes up to the time that he has to go to bed, at which point I have to pry his ‘hockey stick’ out of his hand and carry him crying off to bed. By hockey stick, I mean any toy that he has in his hand that he uses to hit another toy. His hockey sticks of choice lately have been a Mr. Potato Head arm or a plastic toy spoon. He uses the sticks to hit a ‘ball’ around our house. And by ball, I mean anything. Sometimes it’s actually a ball, but he’s not very particular. Just the other day he was hitting around a star-shaped, puffy sticker. His imagination knows no limits. He will literally use anything that he can lift up, to hit anything that will move when it’s been hit. It doesn’t matter if he has to play by himself or if someone else will play with him. Either way, he’s playing hockey if he’s awake. I’m sure that my husband is secretly hoping that his obsession and dedication to the sport continues and that he someday plays in the NHL. WHOA! Dream big!
I, on the other hand, just love to watch him play. He is very intense and obviously gets a lot of enjoyment from it (judging by how often he wants to play). He focuses his attention on the ‘ball’ then smacks it with the ‘stick’ as hard as he can. Every once in a while he even yells “Score!” if he thinks he hit it well. Sometimes, in my opinion, he hits it too well. It seems as though we are always looking for his ‘ball’. If he was using a particularly small item as his ball, it could end up anywhere after ones of his hits. I have found them under or behind the couches and chairs, inside one of my scrap booking bags (I might have to start closing them when I’m not working on something), inside the folded lawn chairs, in the baby’s pack and play (yes, she’s in there too!), under or behind the fridge or stove, in the kitchen sink, behind the TV, in the baby’s swing, inside a shoe, etc. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. He has the most unbelievable hit that when the ball goes missing, I never know where to even begin looking.
His fascination with all things hockey has become somewhat of a joke with our extended families. Whenever we are at my in-laws, he uses their Wii golf club as his hockey stick. It’s the first thing that he goes for the second he gets in the door. Initially, this was the only place that he was allowed to play it and that caused problems come bedtime while we were visiting. He never wanted to give up his hockey stick to have a bath or go to bed. This, thankfully, ended when I realized that I needed to learn to pick my battles and decided that I was no longer going to attempt to stop him from playing hockey in my own and other people’s homes. It was not worth getting him in trouble for playing it every ten seconds. So I changed the rules: he could play hockey, but he was not allowed to hit anything that was hard. There were certain toys that I would allow him to use as ‘balls’ from that point forward. At my parents’ house (once hockey was re-instated there), his hockey stick of choice was a toy spatula or frying pan and he used them to hit a plastic strawberry. When we get to their house, he is off to find those things.
One of the benefits for him of playing hockey at these two houses, is that he always seems to have someone to play it with. Whether it be cousins, uncles, aunts, or grandparents, he adores having someone play with him. “Hockey?” he asks the closest person. When he’s at home with me during the day, he holds out a Mr. Potato Head arm to me and asks, “Hockey? … Hockey? …. Hockey? … Hockey? … Hockey?” …. you get the idea. I look forward to my husband’s arrival home and my rescue from hockey for a while. He’s happy to play hockey with him for a while and give me a break! I love you Carter, but I cannot and will not share your intense passion for hockey.