As anyone who as read my blogs knows, we are a big hockey family. Not necessarily NHL hockey’s fans….but big into minor and junior hockey. My son just finished his eighth year of minor hockey…and it was a roller coaster year.
We knew going into tryouts this year that he was good enough to play top level (AAA) hockey. His summer lacrosse training had made him stronger, faster and way more determined to make it. So he started out with goal of at least playing AA, he had almost made it last year and knowing this he knew he had to get on the ice and push himself in ways he hadn’t before.
The first AAA tryouts, he looked good. He was strong, he was fast and he wasn’t afraid to get in the corners and battle for that puck. We were ecstatic when he survived each cut. Every night I prayed, that Keagan would continue to have faith and give it everything he had, and he did. He never once gave up….he played in the AAA jamboree. He fit with the kids who had played AAA their whole lives. The day the final cuts were made (I’m pretty sure I was more nervous then him…lol;)) he was the final boy called in. The coach told him that he had to cut him, not because he wasn’t good enough but because it came down to experience….and the other kid had experience. He asked him to be their main affiliate player….and told him that he would have a great season on the AA team.
So the next day off we went to AA tryouts. Keagan wasn’t nervous or even sad because we knew AAA was a long shot….and he was 100% ready for the AA team. He skated harder and faster then anyone on the ice, he played hockey like he was still at AAA tryouts. He wasn’t cocky in the sense that he was better then the other kids….he laughed and joked with the coaches….he was just ready to be there. More cuts were made on the AA team, and off we went to the AA jamboree. He played hard….the other kids on the team all knew he was going to make it, the parents from other teams we played all told me he was going to make it.
And then the final AA roster came out and his name wasn’t on it.
My entire house was DEVASTATED.
There was no explanation, no conversation, just a blurb under the list saying if your name wasn’t there you would be contacted by the A coach for your team. Keagan was heartbroken and all I could see was red….I was so mad and hurt and frustrated that my kid just got shafted undeservedly. Now, I’m sure reading this, you could be thinking ‘well your his mom, of course you think your kid should have made it, every mom thinks that’ but I’m not that kind of mom. I believe that if you want to reach your goals, you have to work for them. There are no excuses for not giving it your all and this year, I had watched him give more then almost every single kid on the ice…..he deserved to make that team. And he didn’t.
The first day we went to meet with his team, he looked at me as we pulled in the parking lot with tears in his eyes and said ‘mom, I can’t believe that I played in two jamborees and I’m back here’. Some lessons in life are really hard to learn….and my heartbroken 14yr old had just learned the hard way that life isn’t fair. That the devil will do ANYTHING he can to knock you down and keep you there. I looked at Keagan and I told him ‘buddy, you have a choice to make right now, you can either walk in that rink and show the AA coaches what they missed out on or you can just give up and play mediocre hockey….but I hope you go in there and make your coach proud to have you on his team, that you never act better then your teammates, and you put it all on the ice’. I had been praying that he would make the right choice about how to handle this situation.
And he did.
Instead of letting the devil win….Keagan went on the ice and shined brightly. He made the right choice. He put it all on the ice for his coach and team, and I knew Jesus had his back and it would be all ok.
Through the season, the devil didn’t stop his attacks…..instead he played mind games with him. The kind of games that would have broken a kid who didn’t have Jesus on his side.
Keagan ended up being asked to be an affiliate player on the AA team…..he had to make a choice. Wait for the AAA team to give him the paperwork or go with the AA team. He chose the AA team. They called him up for one game (the rules are they can play 10 regular season games, in any tournaments and any games that happen after the team they play for season ends). It was right at the start of the season….he out skated everyone on the ice, had more shots on net (playing defence) then any other kid on the team. They never asked him back.
Instead, they signed his best friend and another friend from his team to be affiliate players. Both of those kids played 10 games. His best friend was asked to go to a tournament. Both boys are playing with them for provincials. The devil, tried to break him. The devil did everything in his power to make Keagan not shine bright. The devil LOST.
He lost because, Keagan did shine bright. He scored more then 24 goals, he had over 15 assists. He helped his teammate with autism, score 3 goals. He helped his smaller teammates build confidence. He played with everything in him, every single time his skates hit the ice…even for practice. I’d sit in the stands and hear parents from the other team, talk about him….and not in a bad way, a few even asked me why he wasn’t playing at a higher level.
When the devil wants to attack your family, he doesn’t do it in ways that are obvious. He comes to steal, kill and destroy….and he does it quietly. He takes small cracks of doubt and turns them into deep crevices, he takes a tiny bit of uncertainty and turns it into huge potholes of insecurity. He takes a dream and chips away at it, tiny bits at a time…those bits don’t have to be very big either because once he has broken enough pieces, it all falls apart.
Irregardless of how his hockey career plays out, Keagan’s light will continue to shine bright. This kid of mine, might not fully understand but he has a wall of prayer surrounding him and as long as he continues to focus on Jesus first….all things will work according to his plan.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)