Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Cost of a Sport They Love

I realize that some of you that read my blog do so from areas that are NOT obsessed with hockey and you may wonder at my constant references to the sport that consumes my life. Hockey, in a Hockey Town, with 4 sons that PLAY hockey on 5 different teams means that a good portion of my life is spent at the rink, driving to the rink, working at the rink, warming up from the rink and most importantly financially supporting my kids' addiction.

The time cost is high, and for example since Friday my husband and I have been at the rink, (actually two rinks) combined, more than 24 hours. And its just 9 am Sunday morning. From September to March our life IS hockey. There are practices 5 days a week, and games every weekend. To sleep in past 5:30 on a Saturday morning means the kids celebrate having a "Late Game" that starts at 7:15 instead of 6:15. Three mornings during the week we are at the rink by 5:15 am. Two nights during the week we are there past 9:15, and that isn't counting weekend games. Yesterday morning required we be at the rink at 5:45 am and I stumbled home after my son's last game at 10:20 pm. I have friends who have been waiting to go out for coffee with me since October and the basket of unfolded socks is now two baskets.

The financial cost is also enormous. On top of registrations fees, rep team fees, travel fees, fund raising costs your kids have to wear specialized equipment. Hockey gear when our kids were little was not all that expensive. We hit hockey swaps. We hit up friends with older kids. Our kids wore hand-me-downs quite happily. Once we were even given some brand new gear by the Kids Sport Foundation. All in all, the sport sucked us in and we were blindly unaware of the extent of the cost of this habit as time progressed. Then, surprisingly, the boys got bigger and better and rougher and no longer would second hand equipment or cheap free-bees work.

Last summer we were fortuitously able to get a VERY GOOD DEAL on some VERY EXPENSIVE SKATES for son #1. I won't even tell you how much they are worth because its practically embarrassing but needless to say, they were worth more than my first junker car. The hope was that we could pass them down to the smaller boys as time went on.

I forgot that Son #1 plays very, very physical hockey. He needs, essentially, pro level gear now because nothing else stands up to him. I provide for you evidence of what one 13 year old can do to a VERY EXPENSIVE PAIR OF SKATES in 5 months of hockey, and why I scoff when family members suggest we just go down to the local discount sports store and pick him up the $89 specials.

These are his very expensive skates. Last week the toe busted out completely and yesterday the BLADE (the very expensive, high performance, carbon blades I would point out) BROKE!! (see the top skate?)

And if anyone has a line on some cheap, good quality hockey gear, drop me a line! 4 boys + 1 pay cheque = COMPLETELY BROKE PARENTS!!!


SabrinaT said...

YIKES! We are HUGE hockey fans here. The boys don't play but we watch. While we were stationed in Italy the Avalanche went to the Cup and like good fans we watch the playoffs at 2 AM. Fun times.

My oldest runs track, plays football and baseball. Adding all that up gives me hives. Who needs a retirement fund anyway?

Anonymous said...

I must confess we've deliberately steered Danno away from equipment-intensive sports (even though DH and I are huge ice hockey fans) because of the sheer expense. We stick with stuff like swimming, gymnastics, tennis - where most of the $$ is in the activity not the gear.

I completely understand the quality of equipment argument though - having been a rower I can tell you the cheapo equipment isn't worth it and the quality stuff really does positively impact performance.