Be very afraid of the hockey moms

Like 37 million Americans last Wednesday night, I sat transfixed as I watched the previously unknown figure of Sarah Palin turn herself into the angel of the Republican party. But the burning issue in my mind was: what is a hockey mom?

As a New York mother, I don’t believe the subject has ever come up at the school gates. Our offspring are just five. They’re still learning to skate. But after listening to Palin, the reality that my sons, New York born and bred, might soon take up hockey hit me like a weapon of mass destruction.

“Hockey moms”, according to the websites, come in three types. First, the X-treme hockey mom. She knows all the coaches at the colleges and the rankings. She sounds truly terrifying.

Then there is the Power Play Hockey Mom. She organises all the games, raffles and bingo nights. She is definitely a fleece-wearer.

Then there’s the “Cool-not-cold Hockey mom” — who lets Dad drive the kids to the games while she stays in bed, sure that sleep is the most essential requirement for the household leader.

Should anyone in this family want to play hockey, this is the role I will be adopting.

Obviously the hockey mom is a regional phenomenon. Few Manhattan mothers describe themselves this way — yet it occurs to me that both the X-treme mom and her “power play” subordinate would in fact translate very well in New York. This is, after all, the city that is home to the ultimate competitive mother of the Alpha child.

I am startled by the number of times I am told by proud parents how bright a child is, how good-looking, how talented. So you turn up at a school concert or play expecting to see either a young Laurence Olivier or Mozart and you watch something closer to Miss Piggy and Kermit from the Muppets. The one upside of all this is that one’s own children blend in to the latter scenario.

But this is America where, regardless of reality, all offspring are prodigies. And this is what the hockey mom, particularly the X-treme hockey mom, believes. Of course she does. Doubt is not in her vocabulary. As Palin says, she’s a pitbull in lipstick. V

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