Yesterday Rich went for "stick and shoot" at our local ice rink in the morning. This is prime Dad hockey time because it's early enough in the day, he loses a little sleep but it doesn't upset anyone else's schedule. Except that yesterday Ian inexplicably decided to wake up at 6:30am. So when Rich got up to leave at 6:45 and we told Ian he was going to play hockey, I got to hear "HOCKEY? HOCKEY? Dada hockey? HOCKEY!" in bed until I gave up and we got dressed to go watch him play.
8am on a Saturday and we were at the rink. Ian was captivated. He sat on the bar behind the glass and stared intently at all the skaters. Every once in a while he would see Rich and would ask "Dada?" making sure he had the right guy. He was so pleased.
We went into the rink itself to get a better look and Rich came over to say hello. And I realized it was a toss up who was having a better time, Ian watching is Daddy play HOCKEY or Rich playing while Ian and I watched him.
A few months ago, Rich decided to hang up his pads and stop playing goal. We all had mixed emotions about this. As Rich said once, "goalies play so that everyone else can have a good time" so there was that level of suck coming to a close. But he has also played goal for many years and made some great friends on his team and enjoyed it. I wasn't ready for him to "retire" and pine for what he may have lost.
So I was pleased to hear he was going to try skating out. I wasn't sure how it would work out, but seeing him skate all over and score an occasional goal, he looked very happy.
I'm looking forward to this new phase of hockey. The less angsty, more relaxed, still very fun phase of playing out. He may no longer be a "puck eater" but he's still a hockey player. Ian and I will just switch to cheering for goals versus saves.