MAHA (part three)"Well, you got carried out on your shield tonight," I said to Eli 15.7 on the way back to the hotel.
"What's that?" he asked.
"In ancient times, when a gladiator was killed in battle, they carried him out on his shield," I said. "Which raises some questions, because how big could those shields possibly be, and how small were those warriors, but I said it mostly for the valiant image."
Of a very small person getting carried out on a shield, I guess.
The nice news--cutting to the chase--is that his leg recovered after a few more days on crutches, and a week later, he's back to almost 100% and skating tomorrow night.
The second piece of good news is that he's on a daily stretching program now--with a phenomenal coach (Maria Mountain)--because it was long overdue, and this injury was a wake-up call.
"Can you commit to doing this daily?" I asked him.
"One hundred percent," he said.
"Turning short-term weakness into long-term strength," I said. "Stretching will be another strength."
"You and the slogans," he said, laughing.
It's true, though. When something bad happens, if you use it to evolve what you're doing, you can convert it into something good.
There was one other nice moment, and it happened the next day. Eli's team couldn't advance out of pool play, but they still had one more game to play (Eli didn't even dress out).
I was standing in the other rink, watching the game of one of our friends, when a coach from one of the other teams walked up. I knew him from tryouts last spring, and he'd always been very nice to Eli.
Eli played him twice this season, and in the second game, he had 39 saves on 40 shots. At the time, it was probably the best game he'd ever played.
The coach shook my hand, smiled, and said, "Do you know what's the best part of my week?"
"What?" I asked.
"I don't have to play your kid!" he said, laughing. "He was the only goalie I was worried about."
I laughed with him.
"I tell my son at least once a month, 'I wish to god we'd kept him'," he said.
Eli crutched into the rink just then, and the coach shook his hand and said the same thing to him, and Eli got a big grin on his face.
He hasn't even made the 16u team yet--tryouts are next month--and there's still a ton of uncertainty until he's on the roster, but yeah, it's been quite a season.