Entries tagged "hockey"

My Dad Taught Me Hockey

My Dad Taught Me Hockey

My Dad grew up in Niagara Falls, Canada. So did I. Like many Canadian towns it’s a place that loves hockey. That top photo is in Toronto where we lived near Casa Loma when my Dad was a medical resident. The other photo was taken last year when we both went to skate at my cousin Eric’s birthday. Neither of us had been on the ice in many years. It was a real joy and resulted in one of this very special photos for me of just the two of us smiling.

My Dad taught me hockey, which helped me go to college at Yale where I played. And he encouraged me to think big and believe things were possible. He showed me that you can make opportunities in life. His father was smuggled out of the shtetl when he was 5. He made a very different life and gave me every chance to make my own. He pulled the coach up to the fireplace and played Broadway albums. He got me books. He showed me and told me you could always pick up the phone and call anyone, it didn’t matter what their position was or who they were. He showed me how to make an adventure out of something. I’m so lucky I could talk with him this Father’s Day and I’m looking forward to making many more opportunities to smile together.

The election as hockey game

Mini Hockey Rink, originally uploaded by Paul Nicholson.

“Everybody says that / hell’s the hippest way to go / I don’t think so…”

I listened to Joni Mitchell at 6:30 on the phone line this morning and was immediately back in Toronto in gray days and the sharpening smell of fall. I was about to be part of a discussion on CBC radio about the US and Canadian elections, a conversation that only Canadians would have.

I felt myself move to a different place inside as I listened to Joni, a place that was cold and spacious and smelled of ice. Early mornings in Canada are rink times. And yes, in the rink, the ice-not just the locker room-has a smell.

All of this transpired in seconds and then I was in a cordial conversation with 4 infinitely reasonable and thoughtful people. One of the players, Jerry, went to the RNC and he compared the experience to a hockey arena. He acknowledged both how electric and exciting it was to be there when the new American “hockey mom” came in and how it didn’t play well on television.

Immediately I felt the election itself as hockey game. “Drill baby drill” the crowd’s chant when the team was breaking out into an offense rush. The back and forth of the candidates we’ve been sucked into as they’ve dropped their gloves and now try to pull each others shirts over their heads.

Yes the Republicans have some scrappy fighters. I’m not sure if they can win that way like the “Broad Street Bullies” who also had all kinds of heart, playing skill and phenomenal goaltending.

I just know from playing over the years that the fights are not the game. I did lead my team in penalty minutes at one time and found out the meaning of the cliche “you can’t score from the box.” The penalties came from frustration, and then they caused me more frustration. And when you act out of frustration, your not scoring or playmaking which is what is the most fun.

I’m hoping, like I said in the interview, that Obama plays his game and scores more goals, even if he can’t brawl.

And I’m wishing even more, after my enjoyable conversation which included a Canadian conservative, that Americans would pick up a little Canadian tradition and play more hockey.

Canucks don’t just watch hockey. They play. Often all their lives. With people who vote like them and with those who don’t. Go play. If there are fights that come up, have em. But leave em in the rink.

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