Friday, 17 May 2013

"The Good Ol' Hockey Game"

Many of my friends would be surprised to find out about my insane love for the game of hockey.  most of my friends know me as the intellect, the book worm, the writer, the musician, the teacher, the speaker.  Not many know me as the girl who was such an intense basketball player she fouled out of a church basketball tournament, or the girl who played in the muddy fields for field hockey, or the girl who won't keep score when playing board games because I get WAY too competitive, or the girl who yells at the TV when I watch hockey games.

But there's the confession for all to read.

(Please don't judge me.)

My love of hockey is deep-rooted and was in no way bred while I was growing up.  When I was about 12 years old, I turned on the TV on Saturday night (TV was only allowed on during the weekend at our home growing up) and stumbled onto "Hockey Night in Canada."  Up until then, I had enjoyed sports at school, but hadn't really joined any teams.  But I fell in love with hockey immediately.

The funny thing is, my mom wandered in a little later on and asked what I was watching.  "Hockey," I replied.  "No way!  I was the biggest hockey fan as a teenager!"

Yes, my mom was a huge hockey fan.  But when she married my dad, who wasn't into sports at all, she gradually fell away from watching it.  Now, here was her daughter discovering a long-lost love of hers. From then on we shared the occasional Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, and faithfully followed our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs through thick and thin.

Then, I married a man, who, like my own dad, wasn't into sports at all.  And I fell away from watching hockey.  That is, until Colin was old enough to maybe be interested.  I thought I would let him watch the first period of Hockey Night in Canada and see what he thought.

He was hooked.

More than that, all three boys have fallen in love with playing ball hockey.  (James and I are against getting them into the world of ice hockey teams, because we don't like the atmosphere of the leagues, especially here in town)  Colin joined a small ball hockey league that the Salvation Army Church runs, and we bought the boys a net and sticks and helmets and gloves for Christmas.  They have been outdoors every nice day, and many cold mornings as well, shooting the ball at the net.  Colin asked for (and got) some goalie gear for his birthday, and is now saving his allowance for the rest of the goalie equipment he wants.  And for the first time, the boys are begging to spend time in the backyard.

Colin loves to be the goalie.  He went to a special goalie training workshop with his ball hockey league, and has been practicing the moves ever since.  When no one else wants to go out with him, he doesn't take shots on the net by himself, he practices saving imaginary shots on himself.

Caleb just loves to be a part of the action.  But Benjamin has some real talent in those little three year old hands of his.  Dead on accuracy, great power, and even the ability to stick handle the ball.

Once I reached grade seven, I started playing school sports, and then continued playing adult sports after university.  I love the adrenaline rush, the physical demands on my body, the focus required of my mind, the companionship of playing with a team.  Even now I love to get out there with my stick and takes shots on Colin.  I'm so overjoyed to be able to share my love of sports with my kids.


A note on the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff game this year: I watched in disbelief as they crumbled and lost that final game 7.  What I really was feeling was the heartbreak I felt in high school when every year we decimated the competition during the regular season, and then lost to the same school in another district 1-0.  4 years in a row while I played, and then 2 years after when I went back to cheer on the team even when I wasn't at the school any longer.  I remember the tears stinging my eyes the last year I played when we lost, and the lump in my throat the next year when I wasn't even on the team.  That kind of loss just hurts after the grueling regiment and demands you have put on yourself.  The Leafs are still our time!

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