Reflections, Optimism and Thanks, News (Huron-Perth Lakers AAA Minor Hockey Association)

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Reflections, Optimism and Thanks
Submitted By tgoetz on Monday, March 12, 2007
As the season ends for many of our teams if you are like me it is a very reflective time and somewhat sad time. Two teams in ALLIANCE hockey are able to end on a winning note, and in your Major year only one gets that privilege, unless the other wins the all Ontario's.

The end is the time where we reflect on our child and their experience. Did they improve, did they excel, did they work their way up the lineup or did they stay at the top? Did they enjoy the camaraderie, and grow as a person?

Often the end of the season is sobering as situational hockey is more pronounced in the playoffs. Hockey tends to be given a bad name for the situational use of certain players. The top kids, or those the coach sees as the top kids, get a little more ice and a little more opportunity. I sense it is not the little extra that frustrates the athletes and the parents as much as it is the coach's determination of his pecking order. We all know that kids develop at different rates and those that excel in Atom may not in Midget, but we all also hope the best for our child every shift and every game.

Hockey is not unique to a disparity in playing time, in fact it may be better than most. I played a lot of basketball as a youth and when I reflect on it there were guys on our bench and out to every practice that never saw the floor in most games and yet with patience and time and a good work ethic they inevitably got their due.

As parents we say we expect our children to earn their opportunities and yet we don't always follow through in our interactions with them. We exhibit enabling behavior by condemning the coach or linemates instead of asking our child to focus on the things they can control and to try to earn their opportunities. I have been guilty of it as have most parents, but as parents we need to be reflective and refocus ourselves at times as well and give our children the direction that will help them be successful. Later in life their professors or employers will certainly expect them to earn their marks, promotions and raises.

My family takes a breath every year and asks if this is something that we want to pursue again. And inevitably the answer is yes. For my children the strength of character they have developed is attributed directly to the high performance environment they are fortunate to be a part of. And should they not realize their dreams, their strength, fortitude,work ethic and conflict resolution skills will bring them success in whatever endeavor they choose. And most importantly, it is where they want to be.

I have had two conversations with coaches recently that centered around the job being a somewhat thankless one. Coaches and their spouses sacrifice relationships with parents and are the brunt of a lot of disagreement with respect to their choices. I can tell you that every coach in our system made decisions based on what they felt was best for the child and team. Yes, sometimes coaches make mistakes, and frankly we usually know it and feel genuinely bad about it, but some strange inner drive has us going back and back again. For me it was a coach that was special to me as a child, and yes at times I hated him. But in the end that coach impacted my life like no other, and looking back his decisions were good and in my best interest. 25 years later, I am extremely grateful for his time dedicated to my development and if I can be a part of developing our youth into becoming fine young people, than the sacrifices are worth it. It is a story similar to this that I believe drives most coaches and has us reapplying year after year.

On behalf of the parents of our organization I would like to thank OUR COACHES, although we don't always agree with your decisions, we do understand that you are operating based on what you feel is best and we do appreciate you and the 100's of hours you have volunteered for our children. You are very good at what you do! Thank you so much!!!

On behalf of the organization the executive would like to thank THE PARENTS, we appreciate your support. Your involvement makes the organization strong and successful and yes your child will grow up and appreciate it!!!

On behalf of everyone involved in the Lakers a huge thank you to OUR ATHLETES, We hope that you remember the highs of the season well and if there were lows reflect on how you handled them and how you might handle them better next time. But a huge thanks for all the terrific hockey we have been able to watch this season. You are "High Performance Athletes" and we hope to see every one of you out at tryouts again this season and hope you are there to build an even stronger association next year!

Todd Goetz

Chair, Hockey Operations Committee

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