U TURNS: Passion, Love and Forgiveness – Sports Lessons From My Favourite Songs

By Randy Uens

Both my kids are now playing hockey in the U.S.

Exciting times but as the saying goes, “the more things change the more they stay the same.” I find I am still driving to hockey…it’s just longer trips.

The biggest change is the fact that the kids aren’t in the car with us as we are going to these games. I miss those days. I miss the crappy music my daughter forced me to listen to. I miss the conversations after the game over a burrito bowl on the side of the highway with a rap tune blaring in the background.

Maybe I’m getting sentimental in my old age. Songs are truly the soundtrack of your life. On my last trip down I worked up a playlist of some of my favourite songs. My music are varied, but I know what I like, at least I thought I knew. I’ve always been pretty rock oriented. Old rock, alternative rock, even a little heavy metal if it is done right. Toss in a little rap and blues and I’ve got my playlist for my road trip.

As I was compiling my playlists, I started to realize that I wanted some of those songs my daughter used to play. You know, the ones that at the time you cringed when you first heard them. A few rap, a few country, but they worked their way into my playlist. It’s not so much the songs as much as the memory of the moment when I heard them. The artist may have had a different reason for writing the song, but you always put your own slant on lyrics.

It’s amazing where your mind wanders when your partner is snoozing in the passenger seat at 11 p.m. on a lonely highway in upper New York state, listening to a nostalgic playlist. Each song had a memory attached to it. Some I can share here, some I can’t.

We had just come from watching my daughter’s college team win her first two home games. My daughter has always been a happy-go-lucky kid, but this trip illustrated to us how content she is in her new home away from home. We were very happy to see how she has settled in and loving her time playing hockey and going to school.

Each song that came on the playlist flooded memories of the journey that got us to this place. The mistakes, the missteps along with the moments where we did things right…the little victories.

“Empty prayer, empty mouths talk about the passion
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world, not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Talk about the passion”

REM: Talk About The Passion

I know it’s a cliche, time flies. In a blink of a moment you go from Timbit skates with aching fingers from tying up a dozen pairs of skates to making decisions on where they are going to play junior or what they passionate about. Do sports even fit with their academic passions? You really must stay in the moment as you go through the process with your kids. Enjoy and embrace every step as it is gone so fast. Easy to say, but tough to do. Embrace the passion you both have for the sport.

It brings you closer together.

“Old man take a look at my life. I’m a lot like you.
I need someone to love me the whole day through.”

Neil Young: Old Man

I know that Neil wrote that song about a caretaker that lived on a farm he had bought in California. For me, it always brings me back to my relationship with my dad and how I try to not only do the right things he did, but try not to have any regrets with my own kids like the ones he relayed to me over the years.

Be there for your kids and enjoy the moment. Enjoy the time together, enjoy watching them play the sport. Too often we impress our own wants or insecurities on the kids and it takes away the love of the game for them. It’s their time to shine.

“Come as you are, as you were
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend
As an old enemy.”

Nirvana: Come as You Are

For me, this is a song of forgiveness. As much as we want sports to be perfect, they aren’t. We all make mistakes. Coaches, referees, parents, players. It’s part of the game. We need to forgive each other, be patient with each other and in the end come together for the love of the game.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and think or empathize with the other person before reacting to a situation in the moment. Acceptance, empathy and forgiveness will make your youth sports experience far more positive.

“Hello out there, we’re on the air, it’s hockey night tonight
The tension grows, the whistle blows and the puck goes down the ice
The goalie jumps and the players bump and the fans all go insance
Someone roars, ‘Bobby scores!’
At the good old hockey game.’

Nothing better…Enjoy the season!