Gerry Arnold has been writing about minor sports and its intersection with his life since 2005. Consistently named to every Top 10 Failed Canadian Athlete list compiled since 1977, that hasn’t stopped him from showing up at sporting venues over the last 17 years as a parent of two sports-loving sons and coach, trainer and cheerleader to hundreds of others. The journey so far has taken them from Timbits hockey to junior A to Canadian university hockey, and pretty much every imaginable stop along the way including lacrosse and lots of other stuff. He lives in Oakville, Ontario, with his smarter and better looking wife where they take turns sending money to their kids in university. They still call Nova Scotia home.
Milan Foxton said:
I loved reading your article about Oakville Rep hockey. My son loves hockey but then again he loves golf, tennis, skiing, fishing, soccer, baseball ipods and Xbox. Ok so he’s a kid. But something happened this spring in hockey that I’d like to share. He’s only been skating for 3 years and could hardly stand up on skates when he was 8. After a springtime Can-skate session he was ready to don the gear. He just turned 11 and after being in Novice blue where he played forward and defence, and Minor Atom white where he was a forward and Major Atom where he played defence again. I like him playing both ends as this adds to his “fun” factor.
He recently asked me if he was going to make it to the NHL? “Not likely” was my reply – “you would need to be in Rep first and even then very likely not…but one never really knows”. That’s ok he replied but what advantage is there in being in Rep anyway – all the kids in school always say they’re in rep even when I know they’re not? So now I had to think…well you play more games, practice more and go to a lot more tournaments and you get a nice sweatsuit. Up to now, he’s only been to 3 tourneys – one each year and absolutely LOVES them and always wished for more. I also told him the Rangers get to practice on FULL ice. I took him to see a practice and a game and he really like the full ice practice and the NY Rangers jerseys looked great.
Dad, can you buy me a NY Jersey with number 10 like those guys? Well son, I can’t…THAT you have to EARN – big pause. I want to play rep, he said. Lot of hard work …what do you think you have to do? Get to red (MD), exercise, and get more ice time – sign me up for hockey lessons! Now I recognised that in the past he was happy to play one game and have one practice a week and I always told him if he wanted to get better he needed to play more…but now it’s different because it came from him. So he did a pre-tryout camp and will try out for A, AE and AE2. We discussed this and I told him that the focus is to get to MD and to use the tryouts as a great skating opportunity and to expect getting cut because those kids have been playing for 6 or more years and probably tried out many times. The A tryout is tonight and I can only hope some coach says “come back next year”. Try hard no matter what I told him and encourage others to do the same.
So now with his new mindset, our journey begins and we’ll see where it takes
us. He’s been exercising for a good while now and I think of him like all the other Hockey kids doing the same at this time of the year. We have his goal, what might mine be? I gave it some thought and it’s quite simple – they would be his. That being said however, my ideal situation would be for him to be a Rep calibre player playing in House League MD who the rep coaches know well enough to want to Call-Up every once in a while. If not, well there’s golf, tennis, baseball, soccer – how great are the opportunities for our kids.
One last thought – let’s not rush things, character is built on success and disappointment and I’d like him to have his share of both.