Tale of the Season, News, PeeWee A, 2017-2018 (Clarington Minor Hockey Association)

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Tale of the Season
Submitted By Paul Hurtubise on Thursday, January 11, 2018
Larry Land, October 29th 2017:

"It starts when you get up in the morning. If you get out of bed with energy, you'll have energy all day."

"To be a good team, you gotta help each other, you gotta trust each other."

These were some of the core messages delivered by Larry Pearson that cold dreary day, to 17 Peewee Toros A kids, their coaches and their parent volunteers, a few minutes outside Peterborough On.

CoachingA little more ominously, just before noon, he admonished "cliques destroy teams." Shortly after, to demonstrate the opposite, he had them carry around mixed numbers (1 to 17, without them knowing which number was theirs), and then trade them with a team mate. He blew a whistle and the boys had to get themselves in order of 1 to 17. If memory serves, their first try took just over a minute. Their second try was much better, about 45 seconds. Could they beat it? No they said. Yes, said Larry, you can.  And there was no mistaking the joy the kids felt (and we their chaperones for the day) when they got it done in under 30 seconds! They cheered as loudly as if an overtime goal had just been scored.

good jobFast forward to December 30th. The team is in Brampton, at the regional Silver Stick tournament, in last place and having recently but just barely broken a scoreless streak that stretched back over 4 games, prior to the tourney. Enter Whitby Blue, arguably the boys' biggest rival in the Lakeshore League. They had authored one of the shutouts against our team, in the previous drought, and of course it was 2-0 Whitby by the start of the second period. And somehow through the din of skates slurring on the ice, sticks banging together, parents cheering, grand-parents cheering, kids calling for passes - I hear something else from Larry "progress in small increments. Step by step. You gotta trust in the process and learn to be a good team mate." 

And then, it starts to happen. 

big hugIt's suddenly 2-1, and before you know it, the boys are into the third period tied at two. We'd just finished watching them be on their heels for most of two weeks, but now suddenly they are in the driver's seat. Both goals are really celebrated - no casual "good job" taps, but big bear hugs and full-throated cheers. But "good job" taps are starting to appear all over the place, anyway - when a puck is cleared, when a shot is taken, when a save is made. It's happening. 

I would be pleased and satisfied to tell you that the boysgoal celebration 1 tied that game 2-2. But I won't tell you that. Instead, someone takes a shot - it doesn't matter who, only that it was a Toro - a wild, wobbly thing from just inside the blue line;up, a little high, then down just beneath the bar and in. With 1.2 seconds on the clock. Cue the cheers, the pride and cue the turnaround.

And now, owners of 4 wins in a row, the boys are headed into the playoffs. They seem to have re-learned the next step in this year's journey into team and teamwork: never give up. Bad times pass as surely as good times do. If you make a habit to try to score, try to pass, try to skate faster and faster, and above all try to be a good team mate; regardless of the immediate results, it becomes second nature and the path to success is open. How far will it take our team during the OMHA playdowns?

Stay tuned!

goal celebration 2

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