Monday, August 13, 2007


It’s getting to be that time of year again. The getting up early, pounding down as much coffee as you can, getting the kids to the rink in time for a warm up skate and standing in a freezing building for a couple of hours while the kids tune up. I absolutely love it. Having done this all spring and summer bringing my son to his camps, you would think I would be numb to the experience but it is different this time of year. The season is fast approaching and crunch time is upon us. I love the buzz that surrounds the rink on game day and can’t wait for it to begin again. I realized this when I brought my son and one of his friends to a pick-up game on Saturday. Instead of the usual six or so kids on the ice, there was about 17 guys (ages around 20 – 30) all itching to get back into form. My son and his buddy went to the rink thinking that they would be working on a few things and instead found themselves playing a game with some guys just shy of twice their age. My initial thought was uh-oh the boys may be intimidated by the size and speed of these guys, but my feelings soon changed when they jumped right on the ice to start the game. Sure the guys playing were bigger, sure they were more seasoned, but they really weren’t that much faster and the boys had huge smiles on their faces the whole time. The older guys welcomed the two kids to play and involved them in the action. This of course re-enforced my belief that hockey players of all kinds are some of the best people you’d ever meet. After an hour of non-stop play everyone on the ice was completely spent except the two boys who just didn’t want it to end. They didn’t stop talking about it the whole way home and repeatedly mentioned how they can’t wait for the season to start. Taking my son to expensive camps during the off-season helps with his basic skills and keeps him skating, but he gets bored with just doing drills all the time. On Saturday, he got to get into some action and ever since he seems energized, feeling excited to get into game play again. For all of the money I have spent on camps this off-season, the $10 I spent on Saturday seemed to do the most good. Thanks to a group of guys who just wanted to play and didn’t mind a couple of kids joining in. Of course I’ll be spending another $10 next weekend as they were invited to play again with the same group of guys. It’s funny how sometimes something so simple can mean so much to a kid. That is a lesson for all of us and I’m glad that a bunch of hockey players reminded me of how great this game is. My son’s team starts it’s warm-ups in just under two weeks and I have a feeling the boy will be ready for anything.

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