I’m not one to gush over my kids, so pardon this brag and cheesy proud dad moment.
Jacob started playing hockey just a few years ago, and I mean truly started. I taught him how to skate with inlines on land, put him through basic ice skating lessons, and then he did the Nashville Predators “Predecessor” program at the end of 2017, which is where he played with a stick and puck on ice for the very first time.
Fast forward to 2021, and he was named Captain of his high school team this year as a Junior. I could not be more proud.
Am I proud because this will get him a college scholarship, or because his team is a hockey powerhouse, or because he is bound for the NHL, or because he is the best player in the league or even on his team? Nope. None of those things are true for him.
I am proud because I watched him go to clinics, practices, and house leagues to learn hockey years after nearly everyone he plays with had taken up the sport.
I am proud because I watched him work on skills by himself at home, when no one was around and when no one asked him. The over 30 holes in our garage walls he had to fix can attest to this practice time.
I am proud because before he could drive (just happened this year) he would ask us to take him to open ice times and public skates just to practice on his own.
And, I am proud because once on his current hockey team, he has never been too proud to pick up pucks or fill water bottles. He was never too angry or arrogant to skip encouraging a teammate who screwed up or who just had a bad game. He never misses an opportunity to stick up for teammates on the ice or put his body in situations I often wish he wouldn’t. He rebounds from his own mistakes with a short memory. He drives fellow players to games and practices. He never misses a conditioning, practice, or game, unless he has absolutely no choice. He fearlessly comes back from injuries. And he does it all without asking anyone for credit or recognition.
I am proud of him because it shows character traits that will help him in life.
Like all of us, Jacob is far from perfect, but for this second, I wanted to make sure the world knew that he is on his way to becoming a fine man, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.