One of the regular challenges with Ryan is to get him to leave his room and engage with the rest of the family.
If left to his own devices, he would often spend hours in his room, either playing with his Hockey Guys (and performing the play-by-play at the top of his lungs) or typing hockey standings. It’s not that we don’t allow him to have SOME time to do these things, it’s that we don’t want to let him spend ALL his time doing these things, as the longer he spends by himself, the more difficult it can become for him to engage with the rest of us.
A sure fire way to get him to come outside is to offer to play street hockey with him. I know — not exactly a stretch outside of his comfort zone — but it least it gets him outside, moving around, and engaging with another person.
There’s just one problem. We have a small backyard patio with a tiny net, and Ryan has developed quite a shot with the hard plastic street hockey balls. It can take a brave sole to stand in this shooting gallery with only a goalie stick for protection.
With the NHL regular-season now over, there has been plenty of speculation about who will win the various individual awards — MVP, best goalie, rookie of the year, etc. Only in the tradition-rich NHL, those trophies are all named after someone, and so the MVP gets the Hart Trophy and the best goalie takes home the Vezina.
I would like to take a moment to recognize some Vezina Trophy winners in our house. People who have made the effort to get Ryan playing outside by offering to man the street hockey net. It’s a lengthy list that includes Veronica, Riley, Aunt Mary, Grandpa, various neighbors and every sitter we’ve ever employed.
All of them have stood in front of that net and been battered and bruised by street hockey balls, all because it created an opportunity to connect with Ryan and break him out of his routines. And don’t think he doesn’t know it. Recently, Veronica was taking a pummeling in goal when she finally begged off.
Ryan seized on the opportunity to remind her that he would just return to his room, shut the door, and type standings.
Veronica is a gamer. She got back in net.
To all of you who have stood in against his slap shots, congratulations. You are all Vezina-worthy.