Since it is fresh in my mind after watching the Bruins vs Maple Leafs game 7 last night I thought I would write about the beautiful game and what it means in my life.
I’ll just set the scene from last night a bit. I was home screaming at the tv. Wife was upstairs because I am a bit of a lunatic. 13 year old daughter came home during the third period and heard me yelling so she politely asked if she could watch with me. Did she watch the game? I think she really meant to say “I need a front row seat to watch my Dad going absolutely insane.” During the game I have my phone right next to me, not to look at twitter or facebook, but because if anything happens good or bad my Mom and I text about it. Each time we score I get a “Woohoo” text and I respond within 5 seconds.
For me, hockey is WAY WAY more than a game. I only played it for one year, not really sure why, but it is what it is. My Dad played hockey while my brother and I were growing up. He played in college, but then after we both were born he played on his work hockey team or a rec league. And my brother and I got to watch him play. He played defense and it was so cool to watch him. He played until has back finally gave out and I’m not sure if it was harder on him when he quit or my brother and I. Some people talk about smells and how they can bring you back places. For me, a hockey rink is my favorite smell on the planet. It reminds me of sitting in the stands and watching my Dad do something he loved. The sounds of the guys skating, the fights we got to see. All of it, every second, if I could go back to a place and time in my life it would be one of his games. Probably to be extremely specific it would the game where a guy on the ice was getting kicked out and I yelled at him to “CALM DOWN” and then he challenged me to a fight. I was 12 years old. My Dad skated over and tried to talk the guy off the ledge. I think maybe the cold shower he took or something helped, because when he came out of the locker room he didn’t actually try to fight me. I think now I would have loved for it to happen to see if my brother and I could have taken this guy, and it would be a great story and plus the black eyes and broken ribs would be long gone. I remember him being a giant, but I was 12 and my brother was 10 so all adults were giants to us.
As my brother and I grew up one of our favorite things to do was to play hockey in the basement of our house. We would pretend to be different guys and then we would force my Dad to play with us. It would be my brother and I against my Dad. I can still remember how fast he was with the stick, how he could steal the ball or puck from us whenever he wanted. He was to me larger than life. It was the first time (of many) I saw my dad as the superhero he is.
My Mom has always been a super fan of the Bruins ever since I can remember. Probably having something to do with how much my Dad loved them at first, but she has grown to love all of Boston sports. Having two boys growing up during the 80s and 90s she probably saw that was going to be her connection to us, which is probably why since I have two girls I connect with them through dancing and music, not because it is my first love, but because I know we will share something forever with it. When you go to watch a game at my house you will see two things: One, my Dad will be pacing in the kitchen, doing dishes and listening on the radio, only coming into the tv room when he wants to see a replay of a fight or a goal, and two, my Mom screaming at the tv every two seconds about every action. She will go in the other room and pace a little and if something good happens, she will stay in that same spot for the entire game.
Seeing the Bruins play is almost a spiritual thing for me at this point in my life. Seeing the B on center ice I get hit with a thousand memories. From when I was a kid watching the games in the Garden all the way to a text from my Mom last night about how the hell can we fall asleep after such an exciting game.
Sharing something with my parents is very important to me. Each time I get a text from my Mom during a game it reminds me just how lucky I am. If I am in another state or just down the street it brings me back thru all those awesome memories. It puts me right in their living room watching with them. Watching my Mom go insane and hearing the running water in the kitchen and my Dad doing the dishes. I’m not sure why he can’t watch, if it is nerves or maybe the radio reminds him of a different time in his life. I just know that hockey is something we share. It is something that can take us away from whatever life is throwing at us, something that can turn this 38 year old into a 12 year old in an instant.
When we tell my kids we are going to my parents (Mammie and Bupa’s) to watch a game, they know exactly what they are getting into. They know if they sit next to their Mammie they can’t have a drink nearby cause when she screams they will most likely jump and the drink will go flying. There is no predicting when my Mom will yell, just that it will happen approximately 200 times during the game. They probably don’t understand the game like we do, but they watch. They watch their Dad and his Parents connect during a dumb game. It’s our way of holding on to the past. Our way of remembering all those shared times.
Hopefully, many years from now my kids and I will share something like what I share with my parents now. It’s so cool that something my Dad did 50 years ago when he decided to play is something that has given us all these great memories. There are things I will take from my parents, things I learn everyday about myself, about being who I am. Some of these are from big life changing moments, but probably the most important are just from watching a bunch of guys put a puck in a net against some other guys.