I haven’t been writing much since the sale of UrbanMoms but I felt compelled to tell this story. Before I get started I want you to understand that I have total perspective on this. It is not life or death. But for our little family it would change the path we had been happily traveling for the last 3 years. It would offer us unexpected challenges and surprising rewards.
The new coach had a singular vision and was determined to make his mark.
You know when, on rare occasions, something brutally unexpected comes and hits you upside the head with no warning and no preparation? This happened to me just this past Monday night.
My 14 year-old son has been playing A level hockey for the same team for that past 3 years. We love this team. We had experienced some less than positive hockey moments over the years but this team from coach to kids to parents was what every hockey parent hopes to be a part of. This was a truly exceptional community. The boys respected each other on and off the ice and friendships were solidified. The young coach was a role model to the boys using hard work, great leadership and a sense of fun to propel them to The Big Win this past season. It was a group that was excited to look to the next few years knowing that they would finish off their hockey “careers” together.
I won’t get into the nitty gritty of what transpired but, to sum it up, a new, very young and inexperienced coach leading a division winning team gets visions of grandeur and a mere 3 days before tryouts cuts my son from the team. Now, we all know that this is competitive hockey and every year you need to earn your spot. That is a reality. But after a commitment from the new coach to all of the players and a winning season with my son as a strong contributor (he even scored a hat trick in the final winning game), we never expected this and with only 3 days until tryouts my son’s options were limited.
These were teenage boys offering comfort and suggesting action be taken.
The hardest part in all of this, other than watching my son going through it, was the absolute lack of humanity from the young coach. I knew he didn’t “get it”. Having been a part of this amazing group for 3 years I knew the parents and players would be up in arms. At 14/15 years of age all these boys wanted was to stay together. They had a winning team and fabulous friendships and supportive parents. Why change a thing? But the new coach had a singular vision and was determined to make his mark so, for reasons that were never made clear, my son would have to go.
So, life gave us lemons. Bitter and sour and hard to swallow.
But, this is where the real story begins.
What is often most unexpected are the relationships we make with our fellow parents.
The response was completely overwhelming. There were notes from my son’s teammates expressing their confusion and sadness at this decision. Teenage boys offering comfort and suggesting action be taken to advocate and defend a friend who they believe was wronged. Texts and messages sent extolling the virtues of his character and his contribution to the team. Expressions of loss of friendship and offers to help.
We experienced something we would never have been a part of had this injustice not occurred.
From our fellow parents we received personal notes of support, action being taken and expressions of shock. But what really left an impact were the kind words around the sense of loss many of them felt at the fact that we – from Grandpa to little sister – would no longer be a part of their circle. This was so touching that I still well up thinking about it. We hope our children find a great team and a great coach but what is often most unexpected are the relationships we make with our fellow parents. There was no infighting, only support. There were no power struggles or egos, only encouragement and friendship. This is truly exceptional and I attribute much of that to the coach who set the vibe for the whole team selecting players and their families based on shared values. A rare and wonderful experience we as a family will always hold dear.
But it gets even better. People not at all involved with our son, some who don’t even know us, reached out with words of concern and offers to help. The kindness shown to our family during this time has not only restored my faith in humanity after a negative experience gave me doubts, it has taught our whole family a valuable lesson in community and the power of good. We experienced something we would never have been a part of had this injustice not occurred.
A rare and wonderful experience we as a family will always hold dear.
Despite the fact that he will not be on this team, the power of what transpired is not lost on any of us. We are extremely fortunate and grateful and our hearts are full. Thank you to everyone who advocated, wrote a note or stood up for what is right. This is definitely the positive side of competitive sport.
Do you have an inspiring story of community support? I would love to hear it as I am sure we are not alone! Please share in the comments below.