A few years later, Andrew’s passion for hockey blossomed as did his skill. We gave him the option of playing Rep hockey. Mark offered to co-coach with another dad. They conducted the tryout and not even a full bench of kids tried out. The coaches decided to take all the kids, even though for some, their skills were weak, the coaching dads agreed their focus was on developing the players and having fun. In addition, neither of the coaches had the heart to turn down anyone trying out.
They practice with heart. Played games and lost, by double digits. The losses continued but there was an improvement as the double-digit losses went to a single digit. It was exciting to see the improvement!
BUT not for everyone. Up in the stands was a screaming father who used to play junior hockey. This man was not only yelling directions at his son, (“Deck him, deck him!”) he was working up the parent crowd, gossiping about Mark and his fellow coaching father. Led by this subversive parent, secret meetings were held. No, neither Mark, his co-coach, his wife, nor I were included. It was concluded during these clandestine meetings, that a change of coaching was needed to drill the kids to a winning level. They were going to parachute special speed skating coaches. In addition, the fellow spearheading the chatter and the meeting was heard saying that his intent was to take over the team as coach. Hmmm, why didn’t he step forward at the beginning?