Score-keeping in kids’ competitive sports

Do kids as young as 7 care about scores, and statistics? Do they really?

I made an enlightening, rather perplexing discovery about this exact topic with my own kid.

My 7yo boy is in competitive hockey and he thinks it’s fun to see his name on a list of players rated in terms of goals, assists, and points earned.

He likes to win a game (of course), and doesn’t mind when he loses a game (which is fine too). He isn’t overly happy when he wins and he’s definitely not unhappy when he loses (which is perfect, really).

He just loves to play the game. That’s how it should be, right?


Well last night he went to play a competitive game against another town with his Select team. I was mad at him because of a homework situation, and not at the game because Sonja also had an activity, so we didn’t have a good parting. I went off with Sonja and he hung out with his dad who took him to his game. Whatever.

By the time they got home, Sonja was asleep, and I was still reeling about my son’s lackluster attitude regarding his homework. So I let his dad look after his bed routine. I didn’t want to know about the game, who won or lost, or whether he scored or not.

He didn’t mention it either.

So this morning, being a hockey mom and all, curiosity got the better of me, and after DH texted me that Ben scored last night, I wanted to know what happened. I asked Ben about the game, and the ensuing conversation makes me wonder whether he truly understands the whole nature of competitive hockey, score keeping, and all the associated hoopla that goes on with hockey in Canada.

Me: How was the game last night?
Ben: Fine.
Me: What was the score, do you remember?
Ben: It was 5-1.
Me: For which team?
Ben: The other team
Me, thinking: This is gonna be one fun teenager to get information out of…why isn’t he more talkative?
Me: So you scored the only goal?
Ben, suddenly alert: NO! Tyler scored!
~ pause ~
Ben: Actually, we lost 5-2.
Me: So you did score?
Ben: No Jayden scored the other goal, it was Tyler and Jayden.
Me: Your dad texted me you scored, was it an assist maybe?
Ben: Actually the score was 6-2. Or maybe it was 3 because I did score a goal…
Me, exasperated: ok.

I left it. He clearly wasn’t feeling whatever emotion I thought he would feel about scoring in a Select game. What did I expect, exactly? Ben is the second highest scorer in his division (age 7-8) on the House League side of hockey, but in Select (the competitive, local side) he doesn’t score as much. In fact, since the Christmas tournament, in which he hasn’t scored once, last night’s game would have been his first goal in Select hockey. So….why wasn’t he reacting with more pride?

Thinking these thoughts I tried very hard to keep them to myself. I don’t want to inject him with my emotions; he should experience his own emotions. Clearly, he was fine, whatever the result was last night. He played, he liked it, they lost, but he scored a goal, and tomorrow he’s got practice, and it’s all good.

I think.

In a way I’m glad it is this way. On the other hand….I’m confused.

I guess this is what it means to be a hockey mom in these parts.


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