Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – Why Do You Play?

To be sure every player play the game for different reason.  Player have different goals in life, and how they can achieve those goals through playing our game.

But when was the last time you ask yourself, “Why do I play?”

I ask the question because recently I ask a player the same question and he could not answer me.  He fumbled with the answer.  Saying “I have always played”, “Its all I know” and “My parents would kill me if I didn’t”.  Were some of the answer he give me.  Too many other player have said this recently as well.

Sad, is it not?

When I was a boy, my grandfather ask me that same question one day after a bad loss, I was crying and said I wanted to quit.

When he ask me though my answer came very easy. I say I love the game, the smell of the rink when I walk in, the Zamboni fumes, the echo when you walk in all alone, the crunch of the ice when cutting a turn.  I found myself going on and on, eventually the pain of the loss went away and my grandfather was laughing.

Not once did I say I wanted to get to the NHL, or to one Junior league or another, or to college hockey.  I certainly not say my parents would kill me if I did not.

So often now I see the player who do not love the game.  The go through the motion of playing, they show up to the rink for practice, and they do what needs to be done to compete.  Why do you play?

Often now I see the parent who live vicariously through the player.  Always talking about the accomplishment, about recruiting, about the next level.  Never talking about the game, but only focus on individual goals and accomplishment, always the one upper on everyone they talk to.  You know the type do you not?

There are some player in the game today that are simply playing for the wrong reason.  Some player don’t want to play for themselves, and are scared to quit, or to let someone else down.  We all know who they are too.  They are not emotional about the team, about the game, about the wins and the loss.  They do not try to bond with the team mate.

Unfortunate too that this is usually a talented player.  One who can still play at a high level without caring if he does or not.  It is sad to see someone have the game ruined for them.

So I ask you, Why do you play?


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