It's amazing how fast things change around South Delta. Two weeks ago, it was winter. But driving around this weekend, spring has arrived. Trees all over are in full bloom with pink blossoms colouring the streets.
I couldn't be more depressed. I'm a hockey coach. Goalies, actually. I've been volunteering for many years, it really gets into your blood. And as fast as spring arrived, hockey is ending for the season. The ice will be removed soon to make way for lacrosse.
It seems like a little part of Canada goes into hibernation every spring, hidden away as the weather warms, hidden away until fall when everything fades for winter. But that doesn't make the end of the season any easier to take.
For coaches and players, they have spent hours developing their skills and learning together. At the beginning of the season, they are a team in name only. Not so by the end. They have traveled, won and lost, had highs and lows, and, most importantly, shared smiles throughout the time they spent as a team.
I'm sure it's the same for soccer coaches, except they have to brave the elements as well. There is nothing worse than standing on the sidelines in the pouring rain or running around on a soggy field. While they might be happy to finally be safe from the weather, I'm sure the thrill of seeing one of their players reach a new goal, achieve something they never thought they would achieve or even make one outstanding play that the team celebrates sticks with them as much as any other coach.
At least with hockey, you always know what the elements will be. There's the occasional brutally cold morning where I'm bulked up so much that I shed layers before hitting the ice. It's always cold in the rink, and no one knows that more than the fans.
Lost in the games and celebrations are the parents and younger siblings of the players. They are the ones who are up at the crack of dawn getting their child to the game or practice. They sit shivering in the stands for 45 minutes before the game because the players need to arrive early to dress and prepare. They drive all over town for away games, and even further for tournaments.
Parents do it out of love, little brothers and sisters do it because they have to. Every player should remember to thank their little brother or sister along the way as well. They don't like getting up early, either.
For some kids, it's just the end of one season, putting the equipment away for a few months, hopefully after a good wash. For others, it will be the last game of organized hockey or soccer they will play. Some choose not to move up to the next level. Some don't have the choice - they have aged out of the minor system and not made the next level. For those, it's a time when dreams end. At least I get to come back and coach next year.
So, another season done. On the bright side, my slo-pitch league starts in a few weeks. Boy, do I love the smell of fresh cut grass!
At least until the leaves change and hockey starts again.
Brad Sherwin, MBA has over 25 years' experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He is currently the director of marketing for a national non-profit organization.