Mar 2, 2009

Thoughts on Hockey and Life

I love to play hockey! I’ve been playing hockey since 1967 when my older brother Chuck instilled in me a passion for the game at the pond across the street from our house. As a kid I couldn’t wait until Thanksgiving when the pond would freeze and we were able to shovel out a couple of rinks to skate on. With no guards on our skates, we thought that it was “cool” that we could make sparks on the asphalt thinking that we were sharpening our skates in the process.

I remember collecting Christmas trees from around the neighborhood to burn at night (at the rinks) so that we could see... to play one more game. Growing up on the pond set a course that would become a love and a passion for a sport that I enjoy no matter whether I am playing or watching; inside or out. I still get shivers as I walk into an indoor arena and catch a whiff of the ice, but there still is nothing like the feel of skating on a pond or outdoor rink.

This past winter I found myself enjoying playing hockey more than I ever have. Each game that I played on a local outdoor rink drew out a desire to play “one-more-game”. Something inside me reminded me of the days I was a little kid on the neighborhood pond.

Jack Falla*, said it best; “Never been unhappy on the rink”

 Part of the reason for this revived passion of this past season has to do with realizing that at 50 ½ years old, I’m no spring chicken! I realize that these days will soon be over…Of course I thought that I would have to hang up the skates when I was injured and wasn't able to play for around 10 years.

Part of the reason comes from realizing that soon the warm weather will turn the rinks into water that only distantly reflect images of sticks lifted high in triumph as pucks were sneaked through as goal tenders were caught off guard.

There is a quote from Pond Hockey Movie** that goes something like this: “Every shift brings me closer to the last one…you don’t know how many more you have left”

I realize the same is true for my time here on the earth. The Apostle Paul said: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11 (NKJV)

Each day is a precious gift from God. We don’t know how many days we have left; or how long this old earth can keep going on. There are no guarantees that tomorrow will come. None of us with all of our perfect theology are able to predict when Christ will return.

Jesus said; “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 (NKJV). Today is the day of salvation; today is the day to come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior! Today is the day to go out and be used by God.

Today is the day to enjoy those around us. Get out there! Enjoy life! Today is the day to be grateful for all that God has bestowed on us.

 "Keep your stick on the ice." – (Red Green) and keep going forward.

Remember; “Every shift brings me closer to the last one…you don’t know how many more you have left” ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Jack Falla was the BU journalism lecturer widely considered one of the best hockey writers in the business. Jack died September 2008 **

Check out the Pond Hockey Movie Pond Hockey Movie is a movie from Northland Films documenting the outdoor hockey experience and the role of sports in our modern society. For generations, rink rats have grown up on outdoor ice—where the ice is gritty and so is the play. Now, there are climate-controlled arenas in every town, and that’s where the kids go to practice year-round. Through interviews with hockey legends like Neal Broten and Wayne Gretzky and the on-ice action of the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, Pond Hockey examines this changing culture in search of the true meaning of sport.

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