I sit here. Watching my guy skirting around the ice, wobbling, “hockey ready” (our translation: keeping the stick aka:weapon on the ground) and holding my breath till he gets off the ice.
T is loving hockey. Like loves it in a way that he will put down the mouse, step away from the computer, go get dressed, stop doing whatever he is doing to happily head to hockey and get his skates on. You can tell he feels part of a team and embraces the notion of having friends at hockey that he loves to see.
We thought because of his enthusiasm, this might not be as bad as we expected..and that he would come out of this Hockey Skills program with the possibility of playing for an actual team…the verdict is still out..
There are good weeks (many of them in fact) as I watch, amazed, as he gets up and falls down, gets up and falls down, tries and retries to get the puck in the net, over and over again with an incredible amount of determination to keep going.
Then there are bad weeks. The kind of weeks were he is all over the place, skating off in numerous directions, nearly pelting his fellow players with his stick, not listening to the coaches, and seeing them get frustrated over his lack of focus.
They know he is Autistic and has trouble with broad or multiple instructions but you can tell with certain instructors, this is simply 1 of a dozen classes they are teaching this week and taking the time to chunk things down is way too much energy. I don’t blame them…most of them are young guys just making cash to do other things and working with a special needs kid is not necessarily something on their agenda. I’m not sure that at their age, I would have been any different.
So we watch, hardly breathing…keeping count of the good moments to compensate for the not so good ones…reassuring ourselves that he’s not the only one lying on the ice, getting into it with another player, or taking off because he simply does not want to listen anymore.
A couple of examples of our not so great moments..
1) The moment I had to run down to the ice to reinforce that your hockey stick should not actually be held like a tomahawk and attempting to show a friend that he was being mean by responding like a tomahawk was not the solution (he was like THIS close to schmuckin this poor kid in the helmet)
2) Having to watch a repeated antagonist (let’s call him a poop disturber) who constantly jars/jabs/hooks kids (especially T) and then complains to the coach that one of the kids retaliated and pushed him back. Let’s just say I have already pegged this guy as one of the mean guys on Glee who throw slushies in everyone’s face to make up for their own inadequacy.
and a few great moments…
1) Watching the little guy head towards the goal…focused, driven, bound to score…and then he missed…and missed..and missed…but the fact that he would try, miss and go grab the puck to reposition in front of the net until he actually scored was phenomenal and a proud triumph for our whole family.
2) The time where he walked away from that antagonist…just asked him to leave him alone and simply skated away ??? #epicwin
I’m not sure if T will ever actually be a part of a hockey team (if he does ends up participating, for sure he will be a bruiser Defenseman…making sure NOBODY got near his goal) but for now…we have hope. Hope that this is an experience that he can continue to be a part of, not hurt anyone in the process, enjoy and take tremendous pride in what he accomplishes. That’s all we care about. Nothing more.
Well…and I hope if he makes the big leagues that he plays for the JETS 🙂 They are my hometown team after all ..:)