I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile now. It was inspired by my weekend in Toronto that was spent with my 4-year old nephew.
My sister in-law and her partner are not what I would call sport affectiandos. To make matters all that more dire for my poor nephew, he is also growing up in a Leafs hotbed. When I came into his life some three years ago, I decided to take it upon myself to teach him about the great sport of hockey and the most legendary team, our Montreal Canadiens.
The process has been slow, but I’ve employed an array methods to not only encourage a love of the game, but the strength to combat his future Leaf-loving friends. Finally, on this trip was I able to bear witness to the fruits of my labour. Please see Exhibit A and Exhibit B below.
Exhibit A is really a fine example of how consistent, yet subtle pressure can mold the mind of a young man. While at a toy store with his parents just a few months ago, my little nephew was presented with an array of stuffed animal choices. He could have chosen a Max and Ruby doll, he could have chosen Thomas doll, but no, he chose a bear dressed in a Habs uniform. The cherry on top is that he named this glorious bear Aunty Steph, so now, his love for me will always be cemented with the Habs, meaning he will love the Habs.
Exhibit B is another fine example of what I am calling the Darwishian Method. During the ill-fated centennial season I bought him fine set of pyjamas (though I am sure Robert Lang would disagree). I bought them a couple sizes too big, because the first Habs t-shirt I ever purchased was outgrown and forgotten about within a couple months. The result of spending too much money on pyjamas? They are now his favorite PJ’s and he goes to sleep with a bellowing Go Habs Go every night.
Some of you may be asking what the finer points of the Darwishian Method are. I have outlined the highlights below:
- When the child is sitting and watching TV, give him a hockey puck with a Habs emblem. Not only will he learn the weight and dimensions of a puck (thus enabling him to be a hockey star in the future), but the enjoyment of the television will be transferred to the puck, and positive associations develop
- Toddler sized jerseys, while expensive, are indispensable tools for warding off Leaf influence. When this jersey is worn at school, his friends know that he is not a Leafs fan and in differentiating himself from the pack early-on, he will be less likely to succumb to Leaf pressure as a teenager
- Don’t skate in cold weather. Nothing turns a toddler off of hockey quicker then cold feet that hurt. Skating should only be done when it is sunny and with copious amounts of rewards such as hot chocolate
- Positive reinforcement. I never bash the Leafs or laugh at their hopeless future in front of my nephew. Doing so would only give him a viable option if he felt the need to rebel against me. It’s better that I just speak highly of the Montreal Canadiens and leave it at that – with no other option for love or hate.
I hope this guide will serve others well. I will be seeing this nephew early in the New Year and will be able to provide a training update then.