It’s Saturday evening and we are just home from my goddaughters roller hockey training session. I am in Oxford staying with the family, its been really special catching up. I’ve never been to roller hockey game before, and i have to say it looks like a lot of fun! A fabulous mixture of grace and brute force – a lot like ice hockey, just not quite as obviously violent!
Kitting out a bunch of kids in massive pads, helmets and gloves, then putting them on roller blades and handing them a stick, makes for some pretty comical moments. There were times when i seriously doubted if the 7 year old goalie could actually move herself across the court. It reminded me a lot of the boy David going to battle in the kings armour and not quite making it! It was pretty special at the same time seeing 14 year olds work on the court with 7 year olds, sometimes turning out better than others!
More than half of the kids are new recruits, fast learning the skill and poise of skating at high speed while playing a fairly technical, incredibly competitive, contact sport. For many of them life is not simple, and being part of this club provides so much of what they need. Their coaches are experienced players who love the game and obviously enjoy seeing the kids learn and become skilled. They’d drop a word of encouragement, spotting something that a kid was doing well, paying particular attention to the young and inexperienced ones. There just seemed to be a really lovely, positive atmosphere. Even on the benches, where the parents sat and watched there was a pleasant buzz.
My goddaughter’s father took over as manager of the club at the end of last season. I’ve really enjoyed hearing how things have developed since then. Hope rises for me as I hear how these young people are being taken seriously, Pete and the team are willing to invest time and encouragement into their lives – and the lives of the parents. Why not go and check out the club website on http://www.oxskate.com.