Today is day of the Cardiff Devils first official season game. Jack has been awake since 6.30am beside himself with excitement; face off is at 7pm. It’s going to be a long day. I shouldn’t complain about his excitement really. A year ago I didn’t know if taking him to the ice hockey would even be a possibility.
I’ve enjoyed ice hockey for years, Emma has been going since she was a baby and Charlie now plays it; but the thought of taking Jack to a game frightened me. So many things could go wrong. The unfamiliar surroundings, the amount of people, the different smells, the noise,well, the everything. I couldn’t think of one thing that could possibly make this go well for us. When we went to buy the tickets I asked if Jack could be shown the rink. Of course he could, but it was empty. A huge space that Jack couldn’t imagine filled with thousands of people. The tickets were bought (on the end of a row, close to an exit), ear defenders purchased and practiced with and escape plans hatched. We arrived early so that he could physically watch the place fill up gradually. The lights went down, the deafening noise started and then boom. The players came on the ice. He was transfixed. Wanting to know the names, the numbers, the rules, the nitty gritty ins and out of it all. It was as if he was the only person there. Our only stumble that night was when he needed changing. When I came down from my high and realised there were no proper facilities and that I’d need to somehow lay him on top of a toilet to change him I could have sobbed. Of all the things I worried about, this wasn’t one of them. So undignified and frightening for him and so heartbreaking for me. Luckily it didn’t phase him and he was straight back in the swing of it when we returned to our seats.
Since then we’ve had to go to many a game and have watched game after game on you tube. And, after speaking with the MD I’ve discovered that I can change him in their first aid room. How far we’ve come in a year.