Today I was in line at the rec centre to cancel some lessons, and while I waited scores of twelve year old boys were pouring in, loaded down with hockey equipment, ready for a tournament with teams from across the region. Inside, my heart quickened a little as I was flooded with memories of game day.
I loved playing on sports teams in my childhood and youth. I loved walking the school halls in my white shirt and tie, a physical reminder to help us mentally prepare for the game later on. I loved seeing a fellow teammate in shirt and tie, and the slight nod of a head that knit us together in a common purpose. I loved the warmup run that got my blood pumping and the tingle in my head as excitement built. I loved the leave-it-all-on-the-field intensity of running, bumping, making plays and ploughing down the grassy field. I loved the rush of a win, and the heartbreak of loss.
I couldn't help but smile as I watched these boys come in wearing shirts and ties, as I saw a young boy lead his teammate outside for a warmup, as I could almost visibly see the energy coursing through their veins.
Next week Colin tries out for the town's rep soccer team, and I'm so excited. I was nervous to commit him to one sport for an entire year instead of dabbling in different areas, but I'm so excited for him to experience the intense commitment, friendship, and physical, mental and emotional demands that being part of a sports team offers. It built character in me in a completely different way than my upbringing, school or church did, in a very positive way.