You know, I have a huge soft spot for kids. It probably stems from being an oldest child and having a big part in raising some of the younger siblings. And of course this all stems into my love for my hockey team.
Every week something happens at ball hockey, either one of the kids acts out, they tell us something that's just out of the blue, or I get a chance to really level with them and have a good conversation. Last Monday was no exception.
Us coaches always meet after the games to chat, brainstorm on what to do for our teams, talk about the games and see where we can help each other out. This past Monday was a jaw-dropper.
One of my fave players, Joe, had been looking sad all evening and I asked his coaches about it. He was usually not like that, usually he was playing hard, a bit cheeky and had a smile. The coaches didn't know anything, but the manager told us this story:
Joe's birthday had been the week before and at the last minute his mom had invited a couple friends to come and play at the Youth Center. It turned out that only one friend showed up. The dad brought the friend in, gave Joe his gift, left him there to play and came back half an hour later. When he came back he saw that his son was the only friend there, he snatched Joe's gift from him (already unwrapped), grabbed his son and left. Joe sat in his chair, obviously stunned, and cried.
Joe comes from a pretty good family, considering the other families we deal with at the Youth Center, but it's obvious he doesn't get the attention he needs. We're not exactly sure what it is, but there's something lacking there. So to see something like this happen to him is super hard. It's got to be so traumatizing!
As soon as we heard this, we all turned to each other "You free next Monday night?", "Yep.", "Good, I'll bring the cake, you bring the balloons. Invite the team, we're having a party for Joe". We're going to surprise him, it's going to be so awesome! We're going to set up a game of blacklight ball hockey, watch a movie and enjoy some cake! I seriously can't wait to see his face, he's such a sweet kid with a really great heart.