The 6am Practice

The 6am Practice

I’m not my best at 5am when I have to get up to get the youngest one ready for hockey.

Is anyone?


But some days are worse than others. Like a shuffling, drooling zombie, I gather up everything I need. Huge cup of coffee, lid on. Water bottle. Hockey stick. Big-ass bag-o-hockey equipment. Jacket.

My girlfriend, being amazing, has already gathered it all and put it in the hallway. It’s all ready to go. All I have to do is get it to the car.

Easy, right?

Not at 5am.

I get the bag, heft it over my shoulder, grab the water bottle, coffee and go into the garage. I put it all down. I open the Rav 4’s rear door and bang it into the garage door.  It makes a sound. A loud sound. Like what I imagine the sound a metal garbage can makes when from the top of a 100 story building.

For some reason, my brain does not connect that sound to me banging the car door on the garage door. All I know is that the car door did not open far enough for me to put the bag-o-hockey equipment in. So I close the door and open it, again, harder this time because clearly I didn’t yank it open hard enough last time.


The youngest, standing by the car asks, quite wisely, “Joe, why did you do that?”

I look at him. I blink twice. “I have no idea.”

“Did you know the garage door was there?

“You’d think I would.”

“The garage door is always there.”


I open the garage door, put in the bag-o-hockey equipment, and realize I’ve forgotten the stick. The youngest slides into the car while I go and get the stick. But I have two things in my hand. My coffee and the water bottle.

At 5am, this a huge intellectual dilemma.

How to I grow another hand quickly?

It takes me a good minute to realize I can’t grow a hand so I put down the water bottle. No way am I going to give up that coffee. It is my only hope of coming to life today.

I grab the stick and the coffee and go back into the garage. I stuff the stick in the car. I then stuff myself in the car. I’m just about to start the car when I realize that I’ve forgotten the water bottle. I unstart the car, a little pleased that I remembered that I left the bottle behind (my usual mode of operation is to remember as the youngest is skating onto the ice,) so I go back in to get it.

For some reason that makes me greatly fear that I have early onset Alzheimer’s, I leave my coffee behind. Why? I have no idea. Seems at this point, my brain had decided I could carry only one thing at a time.

I get back in the car, water bottle in hand, give it to the youngest, start the car, and then realize I left my coffee behind.

I know deep down that one day I’ll get to the hockey rink and realize I forgot the youngest.

So I turn off the car again and get out, go back inside, get my coffee. I cradle the 64 oz thermo-cup with non-spill lid like it was the most precious thing in the world. Then I get back in the car.

The youngest asks, wisely, “Joe, what are you doing?”

“I have no idea,” I said. “It’s 5am.”

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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7 Responses to The 6am Practice

  1. Lani says:

    You’re a newbie at this Joe. It gets easier!

  2. Joe Cummings says:

    Does it? Does it really?

    • Lani says:

      One of the things we’ve learned over the last couple of yrs is to bring extra stuff when you got it (neck guard, sock, jersey, etc). Also give the kid a couple of things he’s responsible for bringing every time. Water bottle, sticks, & jersey, & then a quick reminder b4 you leave. If the kid’s set, then you can always grab a coffee if you forget yours when they are on the ice. This isn’t full proof, but it might help. Last year, Sean drove all the way back from Surrey to Kits to grab L’s game jersey.

  3. Mike says:

    I laughed out loud more than twice and less than a dozen times: thanks! I’m awed at you doing this–when we were young you wouldn’t have gotten up at 5:00 a.m. if the house had been on fire.

  4. bevcooke says:

    I knew there was a good reason we didn’t let M play hockey.

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