Inside the Change Room


Last post in the hockey blogathon…

In Atom, for the first time, the moms are banned from being in the change rooms. Well, ‘banned’ may be too strong a word, so let’s say ‘discouraged’, instead. It’s partially because boys are becoming men, and partially because a year, ago, they wouldn’t mind a hug or a kiss on the cheek from mom. Now that’s just not allowed. Kisses and hugs are for little kids.

So for all the moms who can’t be in that room or anyone who really wondered what’s what, let me take you inside of it.

First of all, much to my surprise, it’s not well lit. You’d think with all the mold that could grow or black fungus that could form, there’d be so much light that you might think you’re on the sun. But no. It’s kind of dingy. Dull. As often as not, the colors are Canuck colors. Grey. Green. Blue. Sometimes with brown.

Martha Stewart would throw up.

Then there’s the smell. It’s not a smell like flowers or vanilla. It’s stinky boy smell. Stinky teenager smell. Stinky man smell. It’s not always bad, but it’s always there. It can’t be washed out. It’s in the seats. The floor. The walls.

And when it’s bad, when the air is humid from showers and it’s late in the day, it can be a bit gagging.

fogNot that the boys seem to care. I wonder if boys just don’t have a sense of smell sometimes. God knows this HAS to be true when they engage in farting battles.

Hey, I know I have a less evolved sense of smell than the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world, but not that unevolved that sometimes the locker room smell hits me like a wall of smog.

Visually, inside the room, benches line the walls. In the smaller change rooms, it can be quite a challenge getting everyone seated. Once, we even had 2 teams stuffed into one of the smaller rooms. No coach’s speeches on that day and we had to rotate who could sit and who had to stand and wait.

For the boys, everything in that room is something to play with. The hooks on the walls. The garbage bins. Even the toilets. If it weren’t for the parents being there, I shudder to think what would happen.

Sadly, more than once, we’ve had some bright spark leave a huge deuce unflushed in the toilet… sort of a ‘f-u’ to the next team that occupies the room. Or so much wetness on the floor from previous showers that the boys feel like they’re changing in a swamp.


But most of the time, the toilet paper remains in the toilet rolls, the shelves are used for helmets and plumbing overhead not used as a jungle time.

Most of the time.

Apart from the décor, there’s also a locker room culture.

A guy culture.

Perhaps I can best illustrate this by telling you about when the manager told all the parents, all guys, that I had just got engaged. No one wanted to know about the ring. No one asked about how I proposed, instead, I got a sarcastic slow clap. You know the type of clap. The canucks hear it after losing 9-1.

When the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world told her girlfriends she was getting married, they wanted to hear every detail. See the ring. Hear how she felt.


I was asked if I knew what I was doing. I was asked if I’d been drinking. I was asked if I understood this whole marriage thing.

It’s guy culture. No one could say they were happy for me. They had to tease me. That or they just hated me for constantly bugging them for money. I dunno.

So maybe it’s not a bad thing moms aren’t allowed in there anymore.It’s pretty basic. Pretty stinky. Pretty gross, sometimes. Unlike the Canucks, there isn’t a buffet in the change rooms. No fancy-smancy hot tubs bubble in the corner. No Swedish masseurs wait with hot towels.

IMG_3418But for ½ hour before the game and ½ after (of if you’re a goalie parent, then 2 hours before and after), it’s home.

We make the best of it.

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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