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    by Randy Ooney      past articles


Teach your children well

We spend the early parts of our lives wishing we were older so we could do big people things, and then when we get there we spend our middle years protecting our kids from those same bad things that we wanted to do.  Then as seniors, we wish we were younger so we could do all those things that we planned in our youth but forgot when it was time.

The kids get involved in junior bowling, and we spend a lot of time preaching about how it is just for fun, no pressure to win, just competition and good sportsmanship.  Then there are the junior tournaments.  No cash prizes, no pressure, just scholarships that are worth more than I paid for my house.  Eventually they grow up and join the Friday night Fred Flintstone league at the local center.  You know the one where they have a fall meeting where everyone who shows up complains about last year, complains about the rules, complains about the food at last years banquet, complains about the team that always shows up late, makes new rules to deal with all this, and then nothing changes.  All this for the privilege to bowl 32 weeks and try to win $200 instead of $150.

I wonder how many of these folks played kid hockey.  When I was a kid, we had a stick, a puck, and a couple of “Life” magazines secured around our shins with the wide red rubber bands that came off stalks of celery.  Not any more.  Now it’s about $1700.00 worth of helmet, mouth guard, elbow pads, knee pads, shoulder pads, skates, breezers, sweaters, ice time, and don’t forget the little plastic thing that protects future family jewels.  And that’s just for the six year old mites.  It gets more intense as you move through the system.  Now here you have a meeting in the fall where no one complains.  Everyone sits around with idealistic views of the future, where everyone plays great, all the teams win, and all the kids end up playing for Universities like Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The complaining starts about two minutes into the first game.  “How come that slug gets more ice time than my kid?”.  “Don’t we have someone else that can play goalie?”.  “Is that big kid only 6 years old?  If he crosschecks my little Billy one more time, I’m going over and smashmouth that coach back to Medicine Hat, and my wife is going over to big kids Mom and rip off her fake eyelashes and smear mascara all over her green Edina cashmere sweater.  ($249.95 at the Galleria).”

So what’s the point?  In the words of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, “Teach your children well, their father’s hell, will slowly go by” 

Plan ahead  While there are a few adult hockey leagues in the Twin Cities, there are hundreds of bowling leagues.  And bowling lasts for life.  There’s a fellow in one of my leagues that is a spry 93 years of age.

I’ll bet there’s no one over 80 playing hockey.