Hari’s travel hockey team won the second place in the divisional finals. It was an incredible experience seeing the team go from being seventh seeded all the way up to finals. There were tears when they lost the finals, but there was unmistakable pride, “We came storming back amma, I am so proud of our team,” rejoiced Hari.
Hari was the goalie this season, and he gave it his all especially during the playoffs. “One save at a time”, that has been Hari’s mantra. It was hard for the child to not take it personally whenever the team lost but that’s what you sign up for when you are the goalie. The games helped hone his resilience. When you miss a goal, no matter how bad you feel, you just have to get up on your feet and not let your disappointment come in the way. The story would be incomplete if I don’t mention how much a goalie gets pampered. My most favorite part is how all his teammates rush to Hari once the game ends, giving a fist pump and affectionately knocking on his helmet or sometimes even piling on him…!
It is not hockey that I enjoyed the most this season though, but the frills that came with it. All the action in the locker room – girls giggling, boys goofing, the camerdiship, helping each other out, and expressing admiration for each other. The cherry on the cake is of course the talk by the coaches prior to the game – it’s not IF we win, but WHEN we win. And that’s not enough, we have to PLAY to WIN. A lot of what we can or cannot do is in our minds.
As much as I resented the time that hockey took away from us, I turned around somewhere along the way. I struggled with trying to understand where hockey was leading Hari to? I think I found my answer – it didn’t have to lead him anywhere because it made him a better player and person today. What he learnt this season was more than just hockey!