My oldest son first tied on skates when he was 2 and a half. It was November 2009, and the Olympics were about to land in Vancouver. An outdoor rink had been set up, and so we slapped on his bike helmet, rented some skates, and tooled around the rink with a walker.
In the fall of 2010, we registered him for lessons at the Olympic Oval at the University of Calgary. It felt like a cathedral of amateur sport and again I felt a magical spirit as my son learned to skate. That year, we went outdoor skating on Christmas Day and we loved it.
That was the last time any of us tied on skates.
It’s now 2 years later. Zacharie is 5 and a half, Charlie is nearly 3, and neither of them knows how to skate.
The latest program guide is out from our rec centre and it features hockey lessons for kids as young as 3. I gasped. Really? 3? Playing hockey?!
My kids don’t really like to watch sports with me on the weekends. I’ve taken them to watch NHL, and WHL games but the Zamboni, popcorn, and mascot is more exciting for them than the action on the ice.
So if we are to follow our kids’ leads when it comes to registering activities, that would mean Z would continue a path in swimming, gymnastics, and rock climbing – all things he loves.
Still .. as I watch families around me with young kids in hockey I’m wondering if I’ve missed the boat. I remember those feelings of watching him skate for the first time, of him touring on the same ice as Olympic champions, and of our whole family skating in the sun on Christmas Day and I loved all of it.
I feel like I’m being a bad Canadian dad.