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What happens when children begin to understand the lockout?


I’m a proud season ticket holder of the Nashville Predators, if you didn’t know that already. I go to 41 games a season plus pre-season games and playoff games as well. I take my wife, I take my 3 children (all depending on who one wants to go), I take my friends, and I take my co-workers. I can only afford 2 full season tickets, but it’s enough for us.

While my wife tolerates hockey and my utmost dedication to the sport and to the Nashville Predators, my children adore hockey. My son often talks about Shea Weber and says “he is my best friend,” which is normal when it comes to children and their role models. My daughter consistently asks me anytime I have anything at all hockey-related around me, “Daddy, we go to hockey?” This is a spring/summer/fall/winter question and since she’s been able to talk and go to hockey games, it’s been a question asked to me.

My friends and co-workers ask to join with me during the weekday games, because they know my kids/wife don’t go because of school nights. They enjoy themselves and so does the family when they come along. However, with the lockout well under way, my friends know that it may be a while before I’m able to bring them along to games. Yet, I’ve been slowly dreading the day that I have to talk to the children about why we’re not going to hockey games.

A few days ago, when the lockout began, I received an email that I would normally be fairly excited about because it typically means hockey season is right around the corner. The email? The Nashville Predators had shipped my season tickets and they would be at my house within a few days. Well, this is wonderful news, I’d have my season tickets at my house and the first question I would get would be from my inquisitive 4 year old: “Daddy, what’s in your box?”

Today, I returned home from my day job as a web developer for a prominent creative agency in downtown Nashville after a successful business meeting with a prospective 5-star client, I was in a great mood. I pulled up to my house, which is on the fringe of Murfreesboro, got out of the car and walked up to the front door. As my hand reached to the front door knob, my vision slowly lowered to the obstruction blocking my foot from the doorstep: a white FedEx box.

While I was excited to receive the package, I knew I was quickly going to have to open it and explain the aforementioned question which I really didn’t feel like doing yet, however I knew it was going to come sooner or later. As I walked in the door, I was greeted by the norm: my two oldest running up and greeting me with big hugs and a shout of “Daddy!” Well…this wasn’t going to make it any easier.

Now, understand, my kids are about as big of hockey fans as I am, which is a pretty big statement. So when my 4 year old proceeded to ask me to open up the box because he wanted to see what was inside, I was getting a little nervous to his response. I sat in the middle of the couch between my 4 year old son and my 2 year old daughter and proceeded to open the package.

Out pops my 2012-2013 Nashville Predators Season Ticket Holder box with all of my contents for the upcoming season. As my kids helped me open everything up and checked out the commemorative voided paper tickets that we receive every year (it’s different this year, because Predators season ticket holders have the option of utilizing an e-ticket “passport”), the dreaded question finally was asked by my 2 year old Kassie: “Daddy, when we go to hockey?”

“Well, honey, we’re not going to hockey for a little while. They’re not playing right now,” I replied.

The smile that was on my little blonde-headed childs face quickly dropped and turned into a frown followed by an “awww” along with the potential for tears upcoming soon. I quickly explained to her that we’ll go to hockey as soon as people in hockey get together and be friends again (it’s hard to explain to a 2 year old the differences between owners and players and what they’re arguing about).

However, to my surprise, my 4 year old leaned over my lap and tapped my daughter’s leg and said to her, “it’s ok Kassie, everybody is trapped up right now.”

I had to stop for a second and think about exactly what he said.

“What do you mean trapped up, buddy?”, I asked him. His answer completely caught me off guard: “They’re all fighting about money right now, daddy.” I was floored, absolutely floored, that my 4 year old knew about what was going on. It was a very cold, nondescript response to a question that I usually only hear fans/friends/bloggers/analysts talk about.

Now, yes, my son has heard me talking about this before, however I keep the majority of hockey talk to an “in passing” capacity at my household, as my wife has to put up with my hockey stuff for 9-10 months a year and sometimes it drives her up the wall. I haven’t really brought up the lockout too  much because I’ve talked too much about it already and it’s a depressing subject as is.

Yes, my son most likely overheard me talking about in some way shape or form, however him and I talked more about it after dinner and I asked him about if he knew why they were fighting about money. He simply said, “they’re fighting over who gets more money.”

When a 4 year old begins to understand the NHL Lockout, what more is there to say?