Monday, October 01, 2012

The Glass Ceiling

Looks like a skaters foot to me.
I have recently had the privilege of becoming a father for the very first time.  Almost 3 months in and it has been an exciting ride that I never could have imagined in a million years.  I have finally begun to understand many of my coaching contemporaries who said they missed their kids while they were on the road.  

A lot of people have commented that I wished I had a boy, so that I could teach them to play hockey.  While having a boy would be easier to understand in terms of the male mind, truth is, I figured no matter what the gender of my child, I would teach them to play hockey and hopefully they would love it just enough to play it for a lifetime like I intend to do.  Or at the very least, I would have someone around to play Stiga Table Hockey with.  I'm still waiting for someone in my area to play Stiga against, but that's another story.

As I look at my daughter, I see the potential and I imagine every parent sees the potential in their children at birth.  I see a world for her filled with skates, sticks, 6AM practices, goals, blocked shots, smiles, tears, and a world that is supposed to healthy and fun.  I would be lying to you if I said I didn't see a scholarship in her future and maybe more, but the realist in me knows better.  I also have seen the downside of too many parents who push their kids into sports for all the wrong reasons.  I vow, just as I vowed as a coach, that I would participate in sports for all the right reasons, and not be the imbecile hanging off the glass ready to have a heart attack while chastising a 14 year old ref.  If you ever see me acting that way, you have my full permission to stop me and point out what a moron I am.  Trust me, we need more people to step up in that regard.

Anyway, back to the potential.  As I thought more of that potential, I sadly came to the realization that my daughter's dreams in certain sports, will be limited.  The female athlete of today is limited in what they can earn in a career.  Yes, there are certain sports where women can earn money, but as in life, the earnings are not at par with what men can earn, nor is there as much opportunity.  Forty years after the introduction of Title IX in the US,  can we honestly say that women have more opportunities today than 40 years ago?  Statistically yes, but the reality is that we have a long ways to go.  Hayley Wickenheiser today is a student at the University of Calgary and plays for the Dinos hockey team.  I don't know what Hayley has made playing hockey, but I guarantee you, it is not even remotely close to what players like Sidney Crosby or Rick Nash are making.  Yet, Hayley Wickenheiser is generally regarded as the best women's hockey player of all time.  She has inspired many girls to play hockey and has inspired many men to realize that girls have a place in this wonderful game of ours.  I honestly am of the opinion that Wickenheiser should be able to retire once her playing career is over and that working will be a hobby, not a necessity.  

Anyway, back to my daughter.  My dear, I truly hope you enjoy this game.  It can be the best thing in the world to you, and the worst.  There are heart breaks, sore feet, blisters, bruises, boring drills, long bus rides, cold winters, tough seasons, and lousy coaches.  However, the flip side is that there are more thrills and excitement than you can ever imagine.  And if you don't want to play at all and want to play guitar, well I will help you out there as well.

Have fun and keep your stick on the ice!

With Love

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