I managed to get Avi into the Little Penguins Learn to Play Hockey program this year, all thanks to @pghpenguins. There was an announcement on Twitter about ten minutes before registration opened in December, which gave me just enough time to call D, decide we wanted to go for it and then continually press refresh between 9:58 and 10:01am when I got into the system.
It’s an amazing program designed to alleviate the cost of teaching young children how to play ice hockey. Avi was given hundreds of dollars of equipment. Ridiculously cute and small equipment. Like tiny hockey skates.
And all the pads (elbow, shin, shoulder/chest). And a jersey. And shorts. And a stick. And a helmet.
There are 28 kids but he is one of only two 4 year olds that we’re aware of. Most of the kids are around 6 or so. Last week he moved from the lower group – made up of the more novice skaters – to the main group, and I continue to be floored at his progress. He has a really nice stride to his skating and all of a sudden he’s become wicked fast. He’s also fiercely attentive to the coaches, which makes up for his total lack of aggression toward the other kids. Or the puck.
Every Sunday night we cheer him on, and I feel like I’m watching a much older boy play a very grown up sport. But until he gets dressed, he’s still my very little boy. He takes a long nap in the afternoon before practice, and usually eats a soy butter and jelly sandwich before we leave. He asks a hundred thousand questions on the way and holds one of our hands walking carefully through the parking lot to the rink.
It’s adorable and awesome and I’m so proud of him.