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Friday, October 18, 2019

Before I begin, let me share with you the following. I know that I am a little/maybe more than a little nuts.

I know that I have problems accepting people, flaws and all. I know that my editing mechanism has taken a turn for the worse these past few years. Let me tell you this. When it comes to floor, aka “Jew,” hockey, it all becomes just a little worse. I do not think that I am as bad as those dedicated moms of Olympic athletes bad.

Those moms have tried-and-true athletes on their hands. They have future gold medal winners smiling from the front of a Wheaties box. They are hard core. They get up at 3 am to take their kids to practice, practice, and more practice. They spend thousands of dollars on equipment and training. There will not be a commercial about me watching floor hockey games, unfortunately, because I could probably make that pretty interesting.

There comes a time in a mom’s life when teaching the lessons of winning and losing becomes just a little too much to bear. I have been a hockey mom at Yeshivas Noyam (as I like to affectionately call it) for seven long years (and a parent for 14 longer years). This is what happens when you have a new school. You start new sports teams, you water them, and you hope they grow. As I have said before, we are a hockey family. Son #1 played on the inaugural Yeshivas Noyam basketball team. There were lessons in teamwork and losing. All positive. All great. But when we started with the hockey, all bets were off.

I will not retell the story of how my 85-pound goalie defeated the mighty team who had not lost a game in over two years. Son #1 graduated and then we had son #2 and his perfect season. He and his teammates were incredible. We were the favorites. We were hopeful. We could almost taste the Cup (that would be Stanley Cup or its Yeshiva League equivalent, the Sippy Cup…I have no idea what they call it). And then we lost in the semifinals. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means we lost the game that would have brought us to our first championship. I was heartbroken. Fortunately, no one had to carry me off the floor because that would have ended badly for everyone.

And then there was son #3. He has had to overcome some physical obstacles in his life. He was not walking straight out of the womb. He was never the fastest kid (still isn’t, and that is okay), but he has determination and, oh, two older brothers who have the capacity to annoy the bejabbers out of him. He made the team in sixth grade. Son #3’s playing time was at the bare minimum. But he was part of a team, learning a great deal. Seventh grade rolled around and he was on the team again. A little less playing time (yes, we learned that was possible) but his other teammates were really, really good, and with their help they made it to the first championship hockey game. We fought the good fight, but lost. That is okay. Losing builds character. Losing makes you appreciate when you do win something. Losing makes you try just a little bit harder. Enough about losing.

Eighth grade. Son #3 is on that team again. With the help of a growth spurt, he started the season taller and stronger. He became an integral part of the team. Encouraging his teammates, playing his part during the games. They had an amazing season. They came together as a team. Then, they made it to the championships a second time. This time, I was crazy. This time I did not want to give the speech about losing. This time, I wanted my baby boy (who is now taller than me) to accomplish something that his brothers couldn’t, just so the next time they started teasing him about something, he could finally say “Guess who won a championship?”(In my mind, I really believe that will work, but in my heart, I know it won’t make a difference and there will still be yelling and screaming coming from the TV room. But a mom can dream…)

On Wednesday, March 18, my son and his incredible teammates were winners.. It was a hard fight. We were not the favorites to win. We played an excellent team that had an unbeaten record. In overtime, when parents were popping Maalox like candy, we did it. Yeshivas Noyam had won its first Sippy Cup. I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t be prouder and I hope son #3’s life is full of all the moments that make him feel as important as he felt that evening. We will miss you Noyam Knights.

Banji Ganchrow is a proud hockey mom, but is really happy that she no longer has anyone who plays goalie. Shout out to Gilad Holzer. You da man.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow