If you read an American newspaper today, you’ll see the phrase hockey mom. What is a hockey mom, and why are all the newspapers talking about it?
In the narrowest (most restricted) sense, a hockey mom is a mother who has children who play the sport of ice hockey. The image of a hockey mom is someone who supports her children by going to the games, transporting them to practices, and being active with other mothers whose children are participating in the sport.
But hockey mom (like a similar term, soccer mom) means more than that to the average American. The term is associated with women with families living in the suburbs (just outside the city) or in small towns who are middle-class (not rich, not poor – in the middle and therefore “average”), who perhaps drive a minivan or an SUV (a large car that can transport several children and their sports equipment), and who are active in their local schools and communities. They may work full-time or part-time outside the home, and are considered by some people to be very protective of their children.
Some people use the term in a positive way to mean an “average” concerned mother of young children and adolescents (teenagers). Other people use the term negatively, to mean a woman who is overly (too much) concerned about her children or is perhaps overbearing (too aggressive, too enthusiastic). The most common association, however, is probably positive or neutral (neither positive nor negative) to refer to an average, middle-class mother.
One of our two major political parties (groups), the Republican Party, has just nominated (named) as its vice-presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin (pronounced “PAY-lin”) of Alaska. She is the first female Republican to run for that office (the Democrats nominated a female candidate back in 1984, but never since). In her speech to the national Republican convention (meeting) last night, she refered to herself as a “hockey mom.” The reason is that she wants to convey (to give) the message that she is just an average, hard-working mother who cares about her children and is active in the community.
It is too early to know if Palin’s nomination will help or hurt the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, John McCain, in the general election in November against Barak Obama.