It's Just A Game...
Today it was more than a game.
Today it was playing an entire season, 18 games in total, and not coming out with a single win.
It was extra practices, the early mornings, the long drive home after another 10-0 loss.
It was the missed chances, the bad bounces, the “we’ll get them next times”.
It was a big ‘ol goose egg in the W column that refused to go away.
It was that moment when losing stopped mattering, when it became more about progressing, trying your best and getting better and better.
It was looking for the rainbow amidst the rain, trying to find a slice of blue in an otherwise dismal forecast.
And then regular season ended without a single win.
But then it was a goal in OT that bounced our way, a goal that sent a bunch of normal adults into jumping and screaming lunatics.
And it came in the play-offs.
For the first time this season those boys got a taste of what they had been so desperately trying to accomplish all season..
They kept their heads down, came together, and took the next game too.
When all the numbers shook out, it looked like this team had a chance to play for a championship banner.
No, it wasn’t going to be the Gold Banner for this team, as Mighty Ducks worthy as this was, but that didn’t matter either.
For this team of the hardest working 7, 8 and 9 year olds, the color of the banner didn’t matter. All that mattered was that for the first time in a long season, they might just be able to skate away as winners.
It ended up being a best of two games final. The total tally of goals took that coveted banner.
They hosted the other team first, and in as hard of a battle that these second and third graders could muster, they bested the other team 6-4.
So this morning, as parents, we all drove down the highway under a cold March sun, wondering if it could possibly happen for this team.
Wearing our colors, whispering prayers, partaking in pregame traditions, or typical hockey superstitions. Making sure the right water bottle was packed, the right socks on, the right songs, in the right order, in the car.
Oh sure, it was just another game in an exhaustingly long season.
Well, maybe for the other team.
But I can tell you without a doubt, that as parents of this team, it was so much more than a game.
It was validation that as long as you never give up, even when the odds are stacked higher than you are, if you just keep trying, you can never really lose.
And that in life, the world can sometimes seem unfair, and skewed through the eyes of a parent who drove countless miles to watch their child’s team get pummeled again and again and again. That as long as you find the morsel of positivity in every situation, and nurture that positivity so it keeps growing, the world will suddenly right itself, and the trying and the improving will eventually start to matter more and more.
And you will win.
So when that buzzer sounded, it was more than an end to our season. An end to rink fries, and candy bags, and Tim Horton’s coffee at 6 am on a Sunday morning.
Today it was the end of a season that was a testament to hard work, team work, and NEVER GIVING UP.
Today it was an end to a bunch of Novice Tier Two kids thinking they were losers.
No, today it was more than a game.