Monday, December 26, 2011

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like The Day After Christmas

This is one of the nicest gifts I've ever received:

I framed it today, and it's going up on the wall in my study. Whenever I feel grouchy, I can just look up and be reminded why it doesn't matter how tired I am.

Eli 10.4 needed a new goalie mask, and Christmas seemed like a good time. I did some research and discovered that Hackva masks were generally considered to be the safest. Expensive, but very safe, and with the added bonus of some absolutely beautiful designs. Eli went through the list and picked this one:

That's the top view, obviously. Here's the side view:

Those are beetles on the front of the mask, I think, and the whole mask is beautifully painted, with all kinds of detail.

I didn't know how well it would fit, but as it turned out, it fit almost perfectly, needing only minor adjustments, and Eli wore it today at a stick and puck.

It's a good thing, too, because he took shots (and a lot of them) from Midgets today. In hockey, the midget age group is for ages 15-16, and when the stick and puck started, most of the kids were in high school.

Eli was about half their size, in goal, and what always happens in situations like this is that the kids take a few shots, find out the goalie can't handle it because he's too young, and they drift down to the other end of the ice.

That's not what happened today.

They took a few shots at half speed, and Eli stopped them. Then they came in on him and deked a few times and he stopped them. Then they started shooting harder. They got to the point where they were shooting at about 80-90% of their normal speed, and he was doing just fine.

He was having an absolute blast, and the older kids seem to be having one as well, because they would skate by and tap him on the pads after a good save, plus they all started talking to him after about half an hour. By the end of the session, they were old friends, and two of the best kids (who had been particularly nice to him) skated off a few minutes early.

"Hey, you guys," I said, "thanks for giving my son so much work and not being too tough on him."

"Are you kidding?" One of them said. "He can really play. How long has he been a goalie?"

"A year and a half," I said.

The other kid laughed. "That's ridiculous!" he said. "Man, he is QUICK."

We talked for a few minutes. They were nice kids--it seems like almost all hockey kids down here are--and as they walked back toward the dressing room, Eli skated off. He'd been on the ice for 90 minutes and had faced 250+ shots.

"I can hardly stand up," he said, laughing.

Two hours later, we were on the tennis court.

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