I skated like sh*t today. Then the 2 year olds made everything ok again.
So things usually aren't like that now but sometimes my favorite part of teaching, well, always, what can I say, is when little kids want to just tear up the ice and go as fast as possible and I end up just playing tag and chasing them around and letting them chase me around. There's this little boy, cooper, at national sports center, and he comes all decked out in his hockey gear every week, even a mouth guard, so I can not ever understand a word out of his mouth, but he is super chatty and loves to go fast. We'll be doing some skill and going really slow and he'll just randomly take off and yell, "let's go!!" and be off and running. I don't ever get upset. I love it. I try to rein him in until there's only five minutes left, just so they sort of learn and retain something useful, but man, when you are a kid that age, you don't even really need that much discipline in sports--- just time and fun.
Then there's those days we just hang out at maple grove and throw the ball around with tots for half an hour. Just chuck that sucker as far as it will go and then go chase it down and do it again. Sometimes I'll get the limbo stick out or do a bean bag toss and we'll "go fishing" (or, "go tishin'" as Olivia calls it), but mostly just make huge messes on the ice with toys and go whirring around cleaning up for half an hour increments with kids. It's awesome.
So one night, I'm hanging out and this little boy at maple grove, porter, is chasing the ball with me. He stops real abruptly and puts his hands on his hips, turns, and faces me. "What's up, porter?" he looks thoughtfully up at me. "You know somethin’? That jacket makes you look really tough." "You think so?" "Yeah. You look like a power ranger!" "Well, thanks porter. You know that was kind of the idea."
Tonight was no exception. Usually week one of a session is hell week because tots don't like skating sometimes and want to be with their mom and dad.
This little boy, Brayden, is so cute. He comes every week, on time, in his helmet, Spiderman jacket and snow pants. He wears good hockey skates and matching black Spiderman mittens. And he can actually skate out on the ice by himself, march to the middle of the ice with no help, and then what does he do? For 8 weeks he will do this little routine and then just sprawl out on his back like he's sun bathing in Cancun. He's happy as a lark doing it though, so i can't really be mad. I go over there and peer over him like a giant, say, "Brayden, what's up? What're you doing over here?" and he just smiles at me with this mischievous, goofy, all knowing grin.
We sing this goodbye song every week at new hope. I love it, these damn corny songs. And i cannot sing or carry a tune in a bucket. Those poor kids. But i will sing and do the little hand motions and stomp my feet and shake my tail feathers because kids eat that shit up. They love crazy grown ups and i would say i safely fit that profile. ;) so we sing the song and played blast off tonight, which basically teaches kids to go backwards but they don't know it until they did it already. It's so slick, i love it. So i told the kids they could go home and tell their mom and dad they learned how to go backward. And Libby comes up to me and tugs on my sleeve. "I don't have a dad," she whispers. I kneel on the ice next to her. "Well, that's ok, honey. Do you have a mommy at home who loves you?" "Yes." "Well, that's all you need then." and she puts her wings out and i fly her to the door to meet her mom. Before she goes, I set her down and face her to me. "Oh, Libby. I'm so happy to see you again. I missed you." I give her a big hug.
This boy Keene wears a baby blue Nike sweatshirt and a hockey helmet and is legitimately talented. He is a good little skater and I love it because he is fearless. He falls but he will like, somersault as he falls, and then I'll be like, "whoa, Keene! That was so cool!" and he'll look up at me as he pops up onto his feet and just grin from ear to ear, giggling. It's so good to be a kid. I love their free spirits and i love they don't care how they look.