Parenting sporty kids at the competitive level – the end is near

Youth sports parenting – ringette

When children elevate their interests into competitive sports and parents agree to foot the bill and invest the time to let them play, a sudden shift of epic proportions occurs in family life.

My daughter plays ringette, a sport for girls that is very similar to hockey.

To read more about this unique sport, read this post: Ringette a girls ice sport
(photos below taken of my daughter in 2017 when she was competing at the U10 level)

Sonja now in U16 – playing center her entire ringette career

The first post-pandemic lockdown return-to-play season last year (2021-22) was not a good one. They lost every single game if I remember correctly. Which is why they entered this season (2022-23) with trepidation.

But…

It didn’t take long for me to witness their enduring love for the sport reignite: a lot of fire and spark emerged soon after they began to practice in earnest. I credit the coach in particular in coming up with a way to teach them drills the players ended up applying in the games (once the penny dropped that it works!) and a renewed energy to develop their skill took hold.

We’re not the top team in our division. We’re not the bottom team either. We tied, won and lost some games throughout the regular season. And the midweek practices from 8 to 10 p.m. are difficult for sleepy teenagers who have to go to school the next day. (Not to mention their parents who have to chauffeur them through all sorts of weather well past their own bedtimes 😊).

Yet all the players on that team showed up for most of the practices, despite their struggles in other areas of their life, mostly related to the pandemic lockdowns. They might have needed some prompting, but mostly, attendance was excellent.

I cooked a lot of bacon and eggs for post-practice-short-nights breakfasts to give my kids that extra bit of push to head off to school. πŸ₯“πŸ³

I think we can all agree that bacon wakes not just the dead, but also teenagers. 😎

Anyway, as I was saying…

You may know we just got back from a Niagara Falls Canada (part 1 and part 2) ringette tournament.

May I present to you my 15-year-old gold medal girl Sonja?

Fun fact: she looks tall. She is not tall. πŸ™ƒ Photo taken immediately after game.

They went into finals completely undefeated after three very fast-paced, competitive and fun games. Given the previous tournament we had in January at another location, where we lost every game, this was an absolute miracle, but not one that happened by chance or magic. This end result happened because of sheer grit and determination; every player showed up to play their best and most competitive game all the way through to the end. πŸ…

It was even more special because it was an away tournament that required a hotel stay and lots of socializing void of parenting. (I absolutely love having older children now, they can come and go on their own and don’t need as much hands-on parenting!)

It was a fabulous tournament for my daughter, and I am so happy to see that the team made it through the disappointing season last year. They look forward to the rest of the regular season and the regional finals now, and no matter the outcome, they have a gold medal to prove that they can turn things around through less-fortunate times.

Youth sports parenting – minor hockey

I have a lot to say about my son’s single A competitive hockey team and the later years (age 15-18, end of high school) but I’m going to leave that for another time.

My son discovered his love for hockey at age 4 at an outdoor league, moved into Select within a year of joining an indoor league and moved into A hockey at around age 9 (ish? I don’t remember). There were many ups, some downs, but I’ll leave that aside for the moment.

The focus currently is varsity hockey for the Toronto District School Board.

My son tried out for the school team in grade 9 but didn’t make it, then for grade 10 and 11 he was in pandemic lockdowns and there was no school sports. I’m still reeling about the wasted time, but never mind that… πŸ˜₯

When he made the varsity team for his final year in high school, he was thrilled. We were lucky too because the rink they played at was walking distance from the house. Even grandma drove in from the suburbs to watch him play thoughout the season!

They ended up winning the West school division. It was great timing because his other team (within the Greater Toronto Hockey League U18 A division) wasn’t doing so well.

Now his school team will play the North division. That game happens today. Should they win, a final game will be battled against the winner of the South vs East teams.

No matter the outcome, it will be a fun time for my son and his school teammates.

I can’t wait to watch him play this afternoon. It could be the last time… πŸ’ πŸ₯…

It’s with a heavy heart we all prepare to say goodbye to minor hockey. 14 years of watching our son play this game, see him develop and learn and make lasting friendships… it’s been quite the ride.

But new adventures await, and I’d be lying if I didn’t experience just a little bit of relief. All those late nights, the busy weekends, the expense not to mention the chaos and drama, it’s taken a toll.

I’m once again reflecting on a major chapter in my own life coming to an end with my son preparing to graduate from high school.

When my mom offered to take me back to the suburbs after today’s hockey game, I said maybe not now. Not because I don’t desire the opportunity to plunge back into my work projects in solitude, but because I want to ensure Sonja transitions back to attending school after the very busy and tiring weekend, especially because her dad is out of the house a lot this week and unable to supervise as closely. She’s been known to sleep through alarms at times… (The answer is bacon. See above.) πŸ˜‚

I don’t mind hanging out here a little bit. Tucker will be thrilled too. πŸ₯°

Next week is March Break and I’m dog sitting Reya along with Tucker… I bet there will be all sorts of shenanigans to report here on my blog. πŸ˜‰

Thank you for stopping by and reading my (many) words. πŸ˜€

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7 thoughts on “Parenting sporty kids at the competitive level – the end is near

  1. Congrats to Sonja! It’s nice to see her thrive at something she enjoys. My son played a little bit of youth baseball, but that didn’t last long, and my daughter wasn’t interested in sports, so I never got to be the weekend sports dad. For better or worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice job of teamwork for the girls- congrats to all of them and you for living through the weekend! Remember, all the memories of these years will be available later on when you feel the need to look back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Woot Woot!πŸ₯³πŸ’ƒπŸΌπŸ… Congrats to Sonja and her teammates! Daughter did Competition Cheer for a couple years, and those practices and the gear… $$$ and the Competitions themselves were rarely in townπŸ€ͺ It was always exciting to see them nail a routine and bring home a trophy!
    It was also relieving when it was over. Surviving the teen years is rough, but once they really start Adulting, you just might find yourself with new friends!
    Friends who want bacon 🀣🀣🀣🀣

    Liked by 1 person

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