When I was a kid, I wanted to be an NHL hockey player. Not because I was raised in Montréal and grew up skating and playing hockey since I was 4. Not because the Montréal Canadiens were bigger than life itself. And not because every person I ever considered to be a solid role model was an NHL hockey player…but because as a kid growing up I thought I was good enough. I was always bigger than everyone else. I was always stronger than everyone else. And I was always faster than everyone else. I also had the knack of scoring goals. I never played organized hockey as a child. High school was the extent of my experience with any organized hockey.
I realized, however, that when push came to shove, I wasn’t really mean. If I hit someone or knocked them down, I’d apologize. I didn’t have it in me to want to hurt anyone. I was missing that one key element that could have taken me to the next level. My brother came to watch me play one night years later in my men’s league and said all he could here is me saying sorry to people that I knocked down. He said it was hilarious.
Fast forward to my son who was born 2 ounces shy of 12 pounds and 24 inches long. When Cindy and I first heard the news of this giant kid we had created, thoughts of him in a Montreal Canadiens jersey ran through my head. As a toddler, he liked to color and play. Never really had temper tantrums or acted out. As he grew and dabbled in soccer and other sports I was starting to see that maybe I’ve created a mini-me? I asked my son during a soccer game why he wasn’t running after the ball? His answer? “I just wanna catch butterflies, dad.” And that’s when I realized that he too was not ever going to play in the NHL. Now I’m also realistic when it comes to understanding the odds of making it to the pro level. The stars have to align and you have to have all the tools. Even the aggressive killer instinctive ones don’t make it. But I wouldn’t trade my butterfly catching sweet perfect son in for anything else.