By Keo Jamieson
Since I first laced up skates at the age of three, hockey has been a huge part of my life. Some would say too much. My friends have given me numerous colorful nicknames over the years because my commitment to practice and games has made it difficult to hang out. But, my love of the ice outweighs all of the sacrifices that I make to play at the highest level I can.
The first thing my parents told me about sports was this: love the game. It’s a special feeling. Every time I leave for the rink, laden with equipment, my mom reminds me to love the game. “It’s not worth it if you don’t love it.”
Because I love it, my parents have loved supporting me through it. They may not have loved the missing school, the hours of travel, the risk of paralyzing injury and the exorbitant cost of “ice time,” but they’ve prioritized backing me. They knew that my chances of making it into the NHL, or even college hockey for that matter, were slim, but they were always there.
In the end, it was how they supported me that was most important. In general, hockey parents are crazy. In my sophomore year, I played in one extremely heated and physical game. Though some scuffles broke out late in the game, it ended with the traditional handshake and all was well. Or not! These sports parents weren’t finished and ended up behaving worse than their 16-year-old, testosterone-fueled sons. Their massive brawl set a new record for the amount of cop cars called to the rink.
My parents have guided me without hitting that end of the spectrum. They didn’t resort to fighting other parents or living vicariously through me. They always prioritized doing well in school, being a good person and maintaining a good work ethic as the most important parts of being an athlete. They supported me through amazing wins without letting it go to my head. And, as sports parents should do, they supported me through many bitter, devastating losses by letting me brood for a time and then moving me toward focusing on the next game.
Because of my parents, I can do what I love. While I’ve been having the time of my life, they’ve helped me unlock my potential as a hockey player and a person.
Keo Jamieson is 17 years old and a junior at Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado. He plays hockey and lacrosse and loves to ski and travel.