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The year may have just begun, but we’re in the dead middle of hockey season. Now, just about every weekend I’m either driving my son Nathan to practice, a game, or a tournament somewhere. He’s really grown into a great player and has definitely turned me into a hockey fan. When I was growing up, everyone I knew was only interested in the holy trinity of sports: baseball, basketball, and football. To me, hockey was confusing and dull to watch — even if you showed me an exciting game, I couldn’t tell you what was going on. My wife spearheaded the change on that. Emilie comes from Duluth, Minnesota, the land where hockey is king. So naturally, when Nathan was old enough to get out onto the ice, she suggested we get him into the sport. It was an experience of fits and starts at first. His first time on skates, Nathan must have had six or seven falls. “Ice is slippery,” he concluded. That initial trip onto the ice, however, did offer us a glimpse into the future: Our boy is nothing but dedicated after he sets his mind to something. He kept getting up to try again, and by the time he was 8, he’d scored his first goal! PARENTING ON ICE
Since then, Nathan has only continued to grow as a player. He’s played every position, from goalie to forward, and has made plenty more goals since that time in Wisconsin. But Nathan’s growth hasn’t been confined to the rink. He’s becoming very mature for his age as well. This really became apparent when Nathan picked up his newest position: defense. A lot of young athletes treat the defender position as if it’s some sort of punishment. But when Nathan’s coach came to him and told him the team needed him on defense, he just said, “Oh, okay,” grabbed his stick, and played his hardest. So, no matter how hectic things get, I’m more than happy to take Nathan to the rink every weekend. Sports are a great way to teach life lessons to your kids, and I’ve really enjoyed talking to him about things like dealing with adversity and being a good teammate. And I think he takes those talks to heart. From day one, he’s been picking himself up and putting his team first. Seeing that kind of dedication and good sportsmanship makes me prouder than any goal.
“THAT INITIAL TRIP ONTO THE ICE DID, HOWEVER, OFFER US A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE: OUR BOY IS NOTHING BUT DEDICATED AFTER HE SETS HIS MIND TO SOMETHING.”
Granted, I’m not sure he was aiming. We’d taken Nathan to an all-beginners tournament in Wisconsin where he made his fateful shot. He bounced the puck off the boards and got it past the goalie. All the other parents knew it was his first goal, so our whole side of the rink exploded with cheers and high-fives. To tell you the truth, I think Emilie and I were even more excited than he was!
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