Hockey Mom Takes a Penalty
Penalty box duty is right up there with fundraising, locker room mom and for some, concession stand duty, as rites of passage for hockey parents. While we don't handle any of the concession stand stuff in our association (our local rinks take care of that) we do fund raise and we do spend our time in the penalty box.
Well, some of us.
For the past eight seasons I have successfully avoided this duty. As an inexperienced hockey mom it first it seemed like only the dads would do it. I didn't see a lot of moms in there. I told myself that it would take away from the experience of the game, that I wouldn't be able to focus on what was going on and worse, what if that door didn't open right at that exact moment I needed it to! I would be mortified and surely the player, not to mention the coach, would be livid.
Turns out, I was wrong. On all counts.
As we've gone along I've seen many a mom take a seat in the penalty box. Some even preferred it as it does impose some rules on you that you wouldn't necessarily obey in the stands. Like the no talking rule, or in some parents' case, no shouting. One mom told me she needed to be in there so she wouldn't scream at her player, the refs and the coach. Wow. Your only job in the penalty box is to just sit or stand there stoically and open/close the door when a penalty occurs. That's it. Maybe that's why I have avoided it for so long. Being quiet for an entire hour? Not my strong suit.
However, as a hockey mom and as a hockey mom blogger, I felt I could no longer shirk the experience. So, I went for the gusto by asking to be put in there during playoffs. None of this baby steps, do a scrimmage game, stuff. It's all or nothing.
So, last Saturday morning I got all geared up in my heavy jeans, boots, big coat, scarf, beanie and mittens. Did I mention that we were playing an early morning game in the coldest rink in town? I had been warned that the box is much colder than the stands so I went prepared.
I took my position in the box, said a shy "good morning" to the scorekeeper; who probably identified me as a newbie right away, but thankfully kept his opinions to himself. Watching the warm ups, I thought it couldn't hurt to do a few pictures right? I mean I do run the Facebook and Twitter for our team and it's my responsibility to report on the game.
No one noticed and if they did they didn't care so I got a little more brazen and took a video. And then the impossible happened, I relaxed. Despite the waves of nauseating hockey stink that came from our bench through the cracks in the glass, it was fun. I felt like I was more a part of the game than I ever had been. I heard the coach's instructions, chatter from the girls and their heavy breathing from a tough shift. Also, I wasn't the distracted by my fellow parent friends in the stands. I was 100% focused on each play. Even the scary penalty shot on my goalie where I didn't breathe for ten seconds. Although, I could have done without that much focus.
It was way more exciting than being in the stands and when my first "customer" came in? It went off without a hitch. I didn't forget to open the door at the right time, it door didn't jam as I had feared and the player and I didn't once collide during the event.
She even let me take a selfie with her (Thanks Captain Audrey!) Pretty sure I broke a rule there.
I ended up having two more (at the same time, yikes) and by the end of the game I felt like an old pro. Maybe I should learn to score keep too...hmm numbers. Not a chance.
Are you a penalty box pro? Share your craziest experience with me!