The first time I sewed Spiderman’s name bar on his hockey jersey, I wrote a little note…then placed it under the bar before I finished the final stitches.I’ve been doing it ever since.
At the end of each hockey season, we anticipate removing his last name from the back of his jersey to find a crinkled, worn, scrap of paper with a barely readable message. Words like “Play Hard”, “Score”, “Have fun” and “Stay out of the Box”…faded with sweat and time…written with love.
Last week he took a hard hit…and fell harder. With the puck in play and no call made, he awkwardly got to his feet, shook it off and continued to the net as the player who’d knocked him to the ground, scored a goal. He was mad. All the while, I was on my feet with my heart in my throat…knowing he was unsteady on his skates but comforted by the fact he wasn’t still laying on the ice. Spiderman headed back to the bench where he sat there…his head in his hands.
As the game continued I sat back down, willing him to make eye-contact with me but seriously…what kid makes eye contact with their “mommy” from the bench!Next shift, he was back in the game and afterwards, assured me he was fine.
It wasn’t until next morning, as he was about to get out of the car and head into school, that he nestled back into the car’s seat and said, “Yeah…I don’t feel so great.”
Within the hour, a concussion was confirmed.
He’s fine now. It was minor in that he didn’t lose consciousness, didn’t have double vision, no confusion or nausea but a persistent headache on one side, bothered more when he looked either up or down, a “weird feeling” and a desperate need to sleep. Years ago we’d say he’d “had his bell rung”…but these days, we’re not taking concussions lightly thanks in part to Sidney Crosby. For kids who just want to be on the ice, to fight through an injury and tough it out…Sidney has made it safe for them to listen to their bodies.
Spiderman is back on the ice…cleared for play. I’ve seen many players with concussions and count my blessings that his wasn’t too bad. Yet, I’m once again on edge with each hit he gives and takes and find myself in the stands wishing he didn’t love hockey quite so much.This morning, I’m pulling a few stitches out of his name bar to add a few words to the little note inside…”Make Eye Contact with your Mother”, “Play Safe” and “For God’s sake keep your head up!”