Mission Statement: Adversity is not only a good thing, but builds character
Something that I have said for years, and many before me have stated before me, is that hockey is the ultimate teacher of life lessons.
It has become very cliché and one of the core beliefs that we have built Mission Arizona on, that it indeed can offer so much more than just a game.
As I move into my second decade as a coach, I am starting to wonder if that fundamental and once universal belief still holds up in today’s society.
To me, one of the biggest takeaways from the game is the ability to deal with adverse situations and learn how to work through the lows in order to not only reach true highs, but also truly appreciate the process and how it builds layers to character.
The difference today is kids are allowed to work through those rough patches because society as a whole is not allowing kids to even truly face adversity.
When making statements like this, I always stress that I have been coaching the same age groups the same way for the past 12 years. The differences between players’ ability to work through the tough parts of a season has become less and less.
When I started, the overwhelming majority of parents understood the value of letting kids work through some tough situations, but it would ultimately create a more equipped human being, as they started to deal with and face real-life issues that test character and resolve. They let them fall and pick themselves up, so to speak.
I would say currently, the ratio of parents that still feel that way is actually half of what it was. It is always someone else’s fault or there are always excuses and reasons. Kids are forced to deal with tough situations less and less and because of that, I see so many struggle with not only the adversity a season brings, but when they are presented with real-life issues, they don’t have a chance.
I have a 13-year-old daughter and my wife and I always talk about how our own life struggles have shaped our character and our foundation as people. The constant battle is that we obviously want to protect our daughter from any hurt or pain, but in the next breath realize that if she is presented with no struggles, then her full ability to develop is going to be cut short.
My message is simple.
Parents need to let coaches, the teachers of the game, use the game as a safe and controlled avenue to learn some of life’s most essential tools. Parents need to realize that getting in the way of that learning process is not preparing them and not fully utilizing what this game has taught so many for so long. When they fall, they need to figure out how to get themselves up.
I believe it is up to the coaches to keep this process alive and not give into our every changing-society.
Jeremy Goltz is the program director for Mission Arizona.