Doug started coaching ice hockey the week after we returned from our honeymoon. I used to attend all the practices and games back then, at 7 am on Saturdays. People would ask me which child was mine, and I always replied “the big one behind the bench”. Parents found it fascinating that not only was Doug coaching just to coach, but that I came along for the ride. I became friends with the head coach’s wife, and some of the other parents. I became particularly friendly with the mom of a boy named Andy. We sat together all the time and talked. Andy was learning to play goalie, so Doug was his personal coach. Andy’s dad worked in Chicago at the time and he really looked up to Doug as a father figure. Doug really nurtured him along the way. It was a great relationship.
As the years passed and we had children of our own, Doug still coached the kids and I still went to practices and games. Meg attended her first hockey game at 10 days old, all wrapped up in her bunting that one of the hockey parents made for us and gave to me at the surprise baby shower they threw for me at the hockey rink. They were a special group of parents.
When we found out we were having a boy, we struggled with a name. Meg would have been Cameron (for #8, Cam Neely, Boston Bruins) but we opted not to pass that name along. As we listed of boy names that we liked, we kept coming back to Andrew. We talked of the Andrews we knew-a guy Doug played hockey with I’d known my whole life, and Andy, the boy Doug coached. I remember talking of how proud we’d be to name our son after Andy, because he’d grown up to be a wonderful kid. It was settled then, after I chose Patrick (after Patrick Roy, best goalie in the NHL) as his middle name. Andrew Patrick it was.
I lay out this story of a boy because on Saturday my own son started hockey. On Friday I sent a message to Andy on Face.book to let him know that if he was interested, his namesake was starting hockey (Andy is a college sophomore now and home from college for winter break). As we were standing in the lobby Saturday morning debating how to get upstairs with the twins in their stroller because the elevator was broken, Andy and his mom walked in the door. This isn’t the first time that they’ve come to see our kids do something; they also came to see Meg last year at hockey. But on Saturday I was so thrilled that he came, because it proved to us how right we were to name Drew after him. How many college age boys come to see a 4 year old play hockey? We’re so very lucky to have been touched by such a wonderful family.