Five reasons why guitar lessons are better than hockey

by DaniGirl on September 12, 2011 · 14 comments

in Ah, me boys, Mothering without a licence

August was marked by much anxiety about sports. I googled, I asked friends online and IRL, I blogged, I tweeted, I wrung my hands in anxiety. To hockey or not to hockey, that was the compelling question.

Do you like how I just turned hockey into a verb? If ‘friend’ can be a verb, so can hockey. And we, as a family, have decided not to hockey. At least, not yet.

When I realized that I was projecting many of my own innermost anxieties about social acceptance and peers onto the situation, I realized I had lost all perspective and sought the opinions of others. (The irony does not escape me that even in this, I seek external approval for my actions and validation of my decisions. Don’t judge me.)

There were many factors that informed our decision to not hockey, and many voices. On the pro-hockey side there were those who shared their own childhood hockey experiences, those who loved being a hockey parent (see, if hockey can be an adjective as well as a noun, surely it can be a verb as well!) and those who saw hockey as a natural right of passage for their sons and daughters. On the con side, there were those who expressed reservations about the cost, the culture and the violence. Annie of PhD in Parenting wrote a post that helped me crystalize my own reservations – read it here, because it’s worth seeing the other side even if you’re a rabid athletic supporter.

389b:1000 Go for the gold, Canada!

I was so torn that I first registered and then a week later de-registered one son from our local minor league team. The money and the time commitment were just too great, and I couldn’t rationalize the benefit against the costs. When I told said boy that we had in the end decided it was best for our family that he not play hockey this year, he looked at me mildly with this thoughtful brown eyes, shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Okay.’ For this I lost hours of sleep.

The absence of hockey gave us room for activities for two boys. One will join Beaver Scouts, something I find endlessly delightful. And, it’s around the corner on Thursday evenings instead of all over the eastern half of the province at wildly unpredictable times. The other was given a choice of activities, and he chose — be still my heart — guitar lessons.

There was more googling, more researching, more consultations. A school was chosen, a guitar was acquired, a teacher was hired, a time slot was secured. In the end, the total cost for the first year of lessons and the guitar may yet exceed the cost of the damn hockeying.

And you know what? I am happy with that. Moreso, I am delighted with this turn of events. We are artsy, musical people. (Well, Beloved and Papa Lou are musical. Me, not so much. Despite seven pathetic years of school band, I remain largely tone deaf and unencumbered by any sense of rhythm whatsoever.)

Here’s five reasons why guitar lessons trump hockey playing:

1. We do not risk growing out of this guitar in mid-season.

2. Guitar lessons do not take place at 6 am on a Saturday, or in damp, dank 12C arenas.

3. There is little to no risk of a concussion in guitar lessons.

4. Other parents do not yell angrily at your child during guitar lessons. (Although the jury is still admittedly out on whether we will yell angrily at our own children in the act of encouraging the practicing of said guitar lessons.)

5. Chicks dig guitar players.

We start our first lessons this week. I can barely wait!


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kerry September 12, 2011 at 7:09 am

YES!!! I LOVED working with Beaver aged kids. So much fun!!

2 Nat September 12, 2011 at 8:34 am

Three cheers for guitar lessons!

As an aside, we have The Boy in ball hockey. It’s a recreational league and the boys get to play “hockey” without a lot of the draw backs of a full on hockey league.

3 Pam @writewrds September 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

Awesome!
As a vet hockey mom with a son who has played for over 10 years, I can tell you you’re saving thousands of dollars and hours and possibly wrinkles. There are reasons beyond fun and fitness we’ve chosen to support our son in pursuing his passion — it’s particularly good for him, as an individual — but there’s no question the costs are huge. Since he plays at the highest level in the competitive stream, I estimate we’ll dish out at least $8,000 this year. Crazy, much? (It’s not like we have the extra money gathering dust…) I also worry all the time about concussions, the culture of violence and the possibility my beloved son will get seriously hurt.
Still, I absolutely believe for him it’s the right thing to do. If we could go back to when he was four or five and make another choice, would we?
Perhaps.
But I know, for sure, your son’s guitar music will be sweet! : )

4 Chantal September 12, 2011 at 11:02 am

guitar is awesome. And we put off hockey for 1 more year for my 6yo as well. He is in beavers instead. We just couldn’t afford it and I am still not entirely sure his heart is in hockey. We will see again next year. My 10yo on the other hand, started hockey again this season (after a 1year absence) and couldn’t be happier. It is all about what is right for your kids and your family. You won’t regret the decision you make. And yes, guitar is cool. I tried to convince my 10yo that chicks dig piano players… he wasn’t convinced 😉

5 phdinparenting September 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Check out @danigirl's post: Five Reasons Why Guitar Lessons Are Better than Hockey http://t.co/iXtzKQW

6 Help We've Got Kids September 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Check out @danigirl's post: Five Reasons Why Guitar Lessons Are Better than Hockey http://t.co/iXtzKQW

7 Paula September 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Many a Canadian child, male and female grew up well rounded with excellent inter-personal and social skills including those of fair play and teamwork without once ever being on a hockey team.

Here’s to a great season of reciting the Beaver promise, earning badges, learning chords, and mastering the tuning of the guitar.

8 Paola Cubillos-Rizo September 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm

# 5 is the best! “@phdinparenting: Check out @danigirl's post: Five Reasons Why Guitar Lessons Are Better than Hockey http://t.co/Rx1ePLT”

9 Anonymous September 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I’m with you – much rather guitar lessons than hockey! In fact I’m adamant that neither of my sons will play hockey (unless they really really want to). From everything I’ve heard, the time and money commitment is outrageous. I want to have a bit of a life of my own, too!

10 Healthy Mom Project September 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I’m with you – much rather guitar lessons than hockey! In fact I’m adamant that neither of my sons will play hockey (unless they really really want to). From everything I’ve heard, the time and money commitment is outrageous. I want to have a bit of a life of my own, too!

11 Jen September 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Glad you found the perfect fit for your family 🙂 We’re a hockey bunch, and wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s not for every child, or every parent! Scouts and guitar lessons sound great, you’re going to have an excellent fall/winter season! Our son has been asking for a guitar for months and months… Santa may hear his pleas this year 🙂

12 Mary @ Parenthood September 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm
13 Amber September 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Luckily, my daughter is sticking to gender stereotypes and skipping hockey. My husband harbours some fantasies about my son, however, and the whole thing honestly just leaves me quaking in my boots. So much time, so much money, so much pressure.

PS – Off topic, but on my first go-through I accidentally typed “quacking in my boots”. It’s really quite a different thing than quaking. 😉

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