Great Expectations

There was a time, before  nanny government inserted their big feet into unfettered free enterprise, when it was possible to derive commercial benefit from your children, as opposed to paying through the nose for their care and maintenance.  A mere 150 or so years ago you could have sold your six year old to a chimney sweep, one of a class of tradesman always on the lookout for small and agile assistants.   Charles Dickens made an excellent living describing the various ways minor children could be turned to useful employment, but now in the so called free world, the labor market has been severely restricted from capitalizing on the unique capabilities of children.

There still remain some opportunities,  Mr and Mrs. Lloyd and Dorothy Bridges were able kickstart young Jeff's career at a mere four months of age, but clearly, there was an element of nepotism involved, what can a parent do if they are not themselves a movie star?  In Canada, the canny parent seeking to recoup some of the investment of child rearing can enroll their youngster in the local hockey program, which no Canadian community large or small is without.

If you plan to throw your kid's hockey helmet into the ring you will need to get Junior on skates at roughly the same time the little tyke achieves bipedalism.  Parents will want to get him onto a team soon after, as there is no minimum age, and if they don't have him playing by age six they will have seriously impaired his chances to surpass his peers.  Once they have successfully placed the apple of  their eyes on a team, parents need to take an active role, rousting the young player for 4 AM Saturday morning practices, and overseeing their development  by letting coaches and game officials know their extreme displeasure when a decision on their part  might have a negative impact on Junior's career.  The wise parent will also be aware that mere talent alone is not enough to advance Junior onto a coveted spot on the 'AAA' rep team for the best and the brightest, political maneuvering on the scale of an election campaign for County Commissioner will not go amiss when ensuring someone else's kid will not mistakenly be ranked ahead of yours.

You will know you are successful by the time your kid is age twelve.  If by that time he has not been scouted for an elite Bantam or Midget team, you may as well toss in the towel and get the kid a paper route.  If you have successfully managed to get him on an elite team you will be able to convert his education savings plan into something more useful, as it is unlikely he is going to see the inside of a classroom for much longer.  You may also  be able to rent out his room, as he will likely be Greyhounding to some Northern Canadian oasis such as Flin Flon Manitoba, home of the Flin Flon Bombers, and Canada's only legal underground marijuana grow-op.  The best amateur hockey teams are more often than not located in isolated communities dominated by primary industries, where the average salary is upwards of six figures, the metal sidinged shopping mall is anchored by Home Hardware and the person with a High School Diploma that does not say GED on it is considered to have a first class education.

At this point the parent will have done all that they can do, it is now up to Junior to fight (quite literally) for one of the coveted 660 odd player positions on the NHL (average annual salary ~2.4 mil), along with aspirants from the US' NCAA college hockey programs, and the amateurs from parvenu hockey playing nations the likes of Russia, Finland, Sweden, the Czech Republic etc. etc..

Things were definitely easier in the old days.


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