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A young girl with her hand on her forehead in frustration

Frustration is Coming

10/23/2015, 6:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

It’s October 23rd. The leaves are falling, the season is turning. Rain pelts the lower mainland to remind us six months of darkness looms like a cranky referee or an impatient hockey parent. 

As someone who coaches a sport that lasts for the entire winter, I love the stretch of time between the end of tryouts and the Remembrance Day holiday. This is the stretch where everything is new and fresh - the hockey team, the coaches, the parent group - everything rhymes and the rink is a fun place to be. 

But the mid-November dip is coming. Are you prepared?

What is the Dip?

The dip is a time where entitlement reigns supreme, and for once I’m not going to blame parents and coaches, I’m going to blame the players. 

You see, young hockey players between the ages of eight and 14 lack awareness of their surroundings. Most hockey players are privileged to play such a demanding sport, but they don’t comprehend that privilege. How could they? These players don’t understand the value of a tank of gas and they don’t connect the dots between work and taxes. 

Are they spoiled? 

It’s all relative, but I do think children need to be reminded about what they have and reminded about it in context of what they don’t have. 

It’s this malaise that leads to a lack of energy and short attitudes. Some of it no doubt comes from parents and coaches (WHY IS IT RAINING OUTSIDE) so it’s a good opportunity to avoid our own mental mid-November dip at the same time. 

Deflecting the Blame

The easiest thing to do during the dip is blame the lull on external factors. Actually, this is the easiest thing to do during the rest of season as well. When a player has a bad game, blaming the performance on a lack of ice time or a lack of preparation is the easy thing to do, but it’s not always the right thing to do. 

The hardest thing to do is finding the real reasons for a dip in productivity or energy. 

And other than a small slice of entitlement, why do kids get grumpy and lose focus at this time of year?

… No really, I’m actually asking. I’m a writer, not a psychiatrist. 


All I know is that the dip is coming and the first step to limiting its impact is recognizing its impending arrival. This is the toughest time of year because doubt inevitably creeps into our day-to-day lives. 

Just remember that your child is operating in a completely different universe and your doubt won’t help them. 

After all, you’ve never:

  • been benched
  • been harped on in the car after a game
  • had your coach’s decisions questioned one day and then been expected to listen to him the next day

These situations are tough enough to figure out and this is the time of year where they reign supreme. There’s no avoiding the dip, we can only deal with it as best we can. 

I’m going to start with a nap. 

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