The Ottawa Senators are on the road for a 2 game trip to Florida. The player's fathers are along for the trip. This is not the first fathers trip for Ottawa and in fact almost every team now does this each year. It never gets old.
When you watch the fathers in the stands watching practice it still seems like they are watching their boys the same way they did when they were 10. Little groups of different fathers together, sipping coffee, and talking about drills, games, the league and life.
Hockey rinks are meeting places as the kids grow up. They are still meeting places when they are all grown up and playing in the NHL. The only difference is the coffee is better and you need a pass to get into practice.
How proud these men must be to continue to watch their sons. They spent so much time in cold rinks watching them chase their dreams and now they sit in warmer rinks watching them live their dreams.
The feeling is the same for every father. Watching the pursuit is what draws the pride not the capturing of it. Could Daniel Alfredsson's father be any prouder of his son than Matt Carkner's father be of his? Not a chance. Both chased it and caught it. In very different ways and from very different paths but both have made their fathers very proud because of the pursuit.
When I watch my son play I feel the same way. I don't care if he ever earns a paycheck playing hockey. I love watching him pursue it. He plays on a minor midget team of 15 and 16 year olds even though my son has just turned 13. Watching him compete and fit in with young men older than he is makes me very proud on many levels. It makes me thankful for the parenting done with all of his team mates who have welcomed him and made him part of their team. He has learned lessons about life which can only make him a better man as he grows.
The Senators fathers trip is a gushing of pride you can't help but feel and it reminds us that the pursuit is the most important lesson for all of us.
See you at the rink.