“I like my trophy,” whispers Lackee (pronounced Lucky), age 7, during the song time of the church service. Lackee sat behind me at church on Sunday, a day after the big DinoMights Award Day. All the kids who played hockey this year received awards and recognition for their efforts during the season. It was a rather simple affair, but it really means so much.
First, we have a brunch type snack for all the players and their families. For the last few years we’ve served “puppy dog tails” from Isles Bun and Coffee. (They are excellent cinnamon rolls, and if you are ever over in the area of 28th and Hennepin, I recommend you check it out.) Then we gather together as a group. The program starts out with a showing of our yearly highlight video. After that the teams come to the front one at a time with their coaches to receive their awards. The coaches do a wonderful job recognizing their kids. Sometimes, the coaches come up with fun nicknames for their kids. The PeeWee coaches gave each player a name of a Minnesota Wild player that exemplified their role on the team. Michael, in his last year as a PeeWee, fractured his pelvis snowboarding in late December. He had to miss a few weeks of the season with his injury. He came back in full force as soon as the doctor cleared him to play. He scored 8 goals in 4 playoff games, including two three goal performances. So the coaches gave him the Marian Gaborik award, for coming back from an injury and making goal scoring look easy. In case you don’t know, Marian Gaborik plays for the Minnesota Wild hockey team. He was injured most of this year, but has scored quite a bit since coming back. After the coaches say kind encouraging words about each kid, we give them a medal or a trophy.
When my mom moved out of my childhood home, I had to part with all of my trophies earned as a youth. They had a sentimental value, but I reasoned with myself. “This is only a piece of plastic screwed onto a piece of faux marble. It will be O.K. if I don’t keep this.” Besides, if I still had them, my wife would not let them past the garage anyway.
I don’t know what will happen to all the trophies DinoMights has given out over the years. Maybe, the DinoMights’ future wives and husbands will welcome hockey trophies into their future homes, maybe not. But I do know this: six months from now I will be in a DinoMights home visiting a family for whatever reason. Maybe, collecting permission slips, maybe helping with a crisis. I’ll look up in the family room, and on top of the television will be a collection of hockey trophies proudly displayed for all family and visitors to see. It may be a simple piece of plastic, metal, and stone, but it means something. It means, “I’ve been recognized,” “I overcame an injury,” “I achieved something with my teammates,” “We did that and no one can say we didn’t,” “I’m part of something special, and I’m a special part of it!”