There is something about minor league hockey that brings smiles to faces. The parents on my son's Minor Atom team were the loudest in the loop and we managed to crank up our vocal volume for the gold medal series.
We're noisy but never rude or foul-mouthed. Still, some folks used to timid, suburban support found us a novelty. Odd how people complain that Air Canada Centre is too quiet for Toronto Maple Leafs games, then think a dozen or so parents are too loquacious?
Happily our competition got into it - finally - for the final game, bringing in banners, signs, even a real trumpet.
Not all was picture perfect. In the first gold series game, we were all cheering after a goal. Nothing wrong with that, until we realised the other team's goalie was sprawled on the ice, injured. We felt awful - none of us noticed but the damage had been done. Parents on the other team thought we were cheering because their goalie was injured.
All the woo-hoos and yee-haws halted at the sight of a 10 year-old on ice. He was okay and finished the game, coming back stronger and better in game two of the series.
Some players go through years of hockey without winning a medal. My son picked up his second gold medal in two years. He has won top prize in the two seasons he has played.
But I'm the real winner. Seeing the person I love the most, fall in love with my favourite game, surrounded by fantastic people game-in, game-out beats any medal.