Greetings all! I’m back with another bonus post in celebration of the release of my new sports romance, Ice Gladiators, which will be released on 02/15/20. Today’s post is inspired by my mini-me. No, she isn’t a hockey player. She’s a dancer. So, what do dance and hockey have in common, and why did this inspire me? Let me explain.
I used to spend many hours at the dance studio. When my daughter was approximately seven years old, she began to take dance lessons. She had asked to take lessons years before then, but the only studios I could find at that time did not have classes for her age at a time I could work it into my schedule. All of the classes for younger dancers were taught early during the day, while I was at work. See, in the area that I lived, the homeschool population is about thirty percent, or, at least, it was back then. The numbers may have dropped since there have been many changes in both the private and public school systems. Many of the homeschoolers were members of a Home School Association Co-op. If you’re like me, I had no idea what this was. When I heard homeschool, I assumed that parents did all the teaching. While that is the case for some, many homeschool students have classes taught by various people who are associated or affiliated with the homeschool association. Dance was one of those. Let me explain further.
See, the owner of one of the dance studios I attempted to enroll my daughter had a high percentage of homeschool students. In fact, the majority of the students during that period were homeschooled. Dance served as physical education and provided socialization opportunities. The owner had multiple classes designated and reserved for homeschool girls. They were listed as HS classes, which I thought meant high school. Since homeschoolers have flexible schedules, many of these classes occurred early in the day (starting at 1:00 pm and ending around 4:00 pm) while I was still at my day job. The classes available by the time I got off work was for older girls.
It was a shock to me when my daughter asked to take dance. She asked out of the blue one day. At the time, she was on a pee-wee cheerleading squad and taking gymnastics. I’m a firm believer that parents shouldn’t live vicariously through their children. I had enrolled her in cheerleading because it was something I had enjoyed as a child. I thought it would be fun for her, good exercise, and experience of how to work with others on a team since she was an only child. At her age, she hadn’t expressed interest in anything. I could have enrolled her any extracurricular sport, but cheerleading is what I knew. So, when she approached me with wanting to do dance, that was her desire uninfluenced by me. Therefore, off I went to seek her a class. Honestly, I didn’t think she would stay enrolled. Silly, girl! Boy, did she prove me wrong, but I digress.
Anyway, initially, I could not find a class for her. However, the owner of one of the studios placed my name on a mailing list. And then, one year, there it was—a class for her age at a time I could take. The class was only thirty minutes, and I had to drive like a speed demon to get there, but I made it. Now, why go through all of that? Well, I think this background is important to understand the operation of how this studio operated and later evolved. See, this studio was different on two levels. First, it was a Christian-based studio. I lived in an area known as the Bible Belt. One of the reasons the homeschooling was so popular is the majority of those parents felt that the public school system went against or ignored their Christian beliefs. Now, I’m not saying ALL homeschooling parents hold this philosophy or beliefs. That just how it was in my area. The homeschool parents flocked to this studio because it was aligned with their beliefs. As a result, they had a great deal of influence in the studio policies. They were the ones who basically dictated the times of classes for groups of students, and they had first priority in everything. Not only that, but in the early days, the students began class being taught dance history, how to mend tights, how to sew ballet shoes, and French. They even had a book; although not called a textbook, and the homeschooled dancers received a grade. And this wasn’t just an attendance or participation grade as most physical education classes give. No, this was a grade based upon the mastery of skills.
The second point is what I just mentioned. Due to their financial support, the parents of the homeschoolers were the ones who had a huge voice in what the studio looked like, everything from the physical building to the manner of dress. These parents helped upkeep the studio with both building and lawn maintenance. They pushed that the only music played was classical or Christian—even for the contemporary and “hip hop” classes. (What was called “hip hop” would make any MTV watch cringe.) And their influence was especially seen in the dress code, which is what I really want to discuss, as this is the most important to how I arrived at this topic.
The owner had a vision of how she wanted her studio. The parents of the homeschoolers helped her achieve that and push it beyond. This, in turn, caused this studio to be different than all the other studios. Although it was designed to teach children dance principles, parents of homeschool children wanted their children taught as if they would become professional dancers. Their classes were longer and more intense. Non-homeschooling parents. children were taught less stringently and solely for recreation. They were given less intense classes and shorter class times. At recital, this divide was obvious. The homeschoolers danced circles around all the other students, which is why at recital, the two divisions did not share the stage simultaneously.
As the school grew, there became shifts. More non-homeschool pupils enrolled, and the number of homeschoolers decreased. The classes began to merge. However, by then, the policies of the studio were well-established. The dress code strict, including specific colored leotards for certain age groups/dance levels; mesh-seamed convertible tights, specific brand ballet flats (pointe shoes had a separate category), and hair in a bum held by thirty-two bobby pins. (Don’t ask me why thirty-two, because I don’t know. I’m just told that’s how professional dancers do it.) These were just a few of the rules. At the beginning of the year, there was a twelve-page packet outline the rules to parents. The owner was more lenient to the younger students, but honey, oh, when they got older, there was not much tolerance for rule-breaking.
I had no idea at first what I was enrolling my child into, but she loved it. Therefore, I began taking my cues from other parents. I was instructed that I should invest in a robust, quality ballet bag, and I’m so thankful that I did. That one bag lasted, and it was drug everywhere in all sorts of conditions. It also had many interior storage compartments. Most people think the only thing in a ballet bag is a couple pairs of tights, shoes, and a leotard. They’d be wrong. My daughter easily had over fifty items in her bag at any given time—not junk items, but required items. So, I got to wondering. If she had all of that in her bag, what do hockey players have in their bag? I sought to find out.
It took me a minute, but I got in contact with some minor league hockey players and I asked to peek inside their bags. (Fair warning. I advise no one do this without nose guards and air freshener.) Not surprising, their bags are just as stuffed as my daughters. So, if you ever were curious about what in a hockey players’ bag, here is what I found.
- Pads & Protective Gear
- Shoulder pads
- Shin pads/knee pads/leg pads
- Elbow pads
- Slash guards
- Blade/steel skate pouch (skate guards)
- Extra blades
- Replacement visor
- Skate blade sharpeners
- Stick tape
- Shin guard tape
- Stick wax
- Stick (obviously doesn’t fit into the bag)
- Water-resistant base layer shirt
- Water-resistant base layer pants
- Guarder belt
- Player socks
- Visor cleaning spray
- Microfiber visor cleaning cloth
- Water bottle
One final note is the players informed me of the importance of the bags themselves. They stated that in their opinion, the best bags had sturdy straps, divided sections, internal storage, compartments, mesh ventilation sections, be brightly lined for easy location of equipment in dimly/poorly lit arena/locker rooms, and constructed of waterproof material.
A special thanks to the players who allowed me to snoop around in their bags and explain it all to me. They really went into detail about brands, performance, function, and fit. There’s no way I could do any of those topics justice in this post. I will, however, mention that most of the players I talked to preferred the brands Bauer and CCM. These are not the only brands out there, and I personally cannot attest to their durability or quality. Anyone wanting to make an investment in hockey equipment should get advice from someone knowledgeable with the sport and sporting equipment. Additionally, this post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way with persons, brands, or products named herein.
As always, I’m interested in reading your opinions and comments. Did I miss list anything that you feel is important and should be included in the bag? Do you play hockey or any sports? What’s in your sports bag? If you would like to see me write more of these types of posts, please let me know in the comments below.
DISCLAIMER: This post is in no way sponsored or affiliated by any person, brand, or product mentioned herein. I make no money or obtain any sort of financial gain or gifts from the mentioned brands.
- Coming February 2020… Ice Gladiators… Hockey so hot it melts the ice.
- Preorder: www.books2read.com/icegladiators
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