By Anthony Lisi
Some people believe that hockey is just a sport. They believe there is no “I” in “team,” that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose if you have fun, and that if something stops bringing you joy and happiness, it’s time to give it up and move on. This, my friends, is all a joke. There is no “I” in team, yes, but there is an “I” in “win”. It does matter if you win or lose, because I personally make it impossible to have fun when you lose. And finally, if you want to achieve something, there’s a good chance you’re going to be miserable for a while. It’s just the way it works. Hockey is not just a sport, my friends – it never has been, and it never will be.
Hockey was my life, you see. Ever since I was a kid, I had my sights set on the NHL. My dad worked his bag off so I could play hockey and have the opportunity to make something of myself. I played three years of Junior C, which is the lowest possible level after minor hockey. I dreamed of moving up and making it to the pros, despite the fact that I was only able to score one goal in my whole career. It was a damn good goal, though. The night before it happened, Caledonia’s 19 year-old goalie and his 16 year-old cousin had welcomed their baby boy into the world. Severely depressed, he drank himself belligerent and showed up to the rink still loaded. Good thing, otherwise I likely wouldn’t have scored. Kid turned out all right too, heard something about her moving out to Amsterdam to pursue business opportunities. Good for her.
Anyways, I was (and still am) a fat, useless loser that never stood a chance at making it big. Why? Because I didn’t have anybody push me. When I finally gave up the dream, I promised myself that I wouldn’t let my children make the same mistakes that I did. And I haven’t. Both my five and seven year-old kids are well along the path to success.
Each night, both my boys are connected to sleep machines that carefully monitor their sleep patterns. On game nights, they are sedated with a legal dose of morphine to ensure quality rest.
Every morning starts with a chicken shake, which is essentially chicken and water blended together. Protein is essential for both recovery and bulking, so the chicken juice is not optional.
Both of my boys attend a school for elite athletes. SUMMIT College provides quality educational services for the first half of the day, and focuses on athletics for the second half. Essentially, my kids go to school, spend a few hours in the classroom, and then improve their game for the rest of the day. Both boys boast a Call of Duty kill-death ratio of over 4, giving them over 90% in their English class. It might seem strange to minimize academics at such a young age, but their developing brains can only focus on one thing, and it’s best that one thing is hockey.
Despite all the viable justification for my ways, some people are strongly against my philosophy. They believe kids should have the freedom to choose and be happy in their activities, and such an extreme regimen is too much for any elementary student to handle. I usually laugh when they say these things, mainly because I picture their reaction if they found out about the things they don’t know. The two most prominent are as follows.
First, losing in any way, shape, or form is completely unacceptable and is not tolerated. If my boys lose anything, I strip them of their clothes and make them sit outside in their underwear for 35-45 minutes. As you can imagine, the real lessons are learned in the winter months.
Second, hockey becomes a game of physical toughness as the levels progress. This is why every morning before school I take the boys to the side of the house and fire frozen orange hockey balls at them. If they can learn to handle the pain now, they won’t have any issues once they make the NHL.
Lastly, I use whatever money I have to benefit my kids. Paying for regular expenses, like team fees, extra training, and a gym membership are considered standard practice. Fortunately for my children, I have no interest in being standard, and my finances prove it. In the last 5 years, I have bought both a news service that writes scouting reports on talented players, and a Jr. A hockey team for my children to play on when they become of age. Although it did cost a small fortune – it ultimately caused my wife to steal from her friends here and there to support her shopping addiction – in the end, it will all be worthwhile when my kids make the NHL.
My oldest is about to turn eight, making him eligible for his first year of AAA hockey. I’ve decided to quit my job, live off my father’s fortune, and counsel my children full time. Just like Ovechkin’s mother, I will act as my sons’ agent, which will pay in dividends when they make the NHL.
No time to think about that, though – I need to take my sons to get Thai massages. Just remember, while you’re out there cheering your kids on from the stands and volunteering to bring ice cream for next week’s game, I’ll be analyzing game tape and researching nutrition, so my seven year-old will have that extra edge over yours.