It’s never too late to learn. Hockey, or should we just say skating, in my case.
Last fall, my son Joey showed interest in hockey so we signed him up for a Learn to Play Hockey program. The volunteers there were exceptional, getting him all geared up, and encouraging him every step of the way. He loved it. Using a chair to help keep balance, he flew across the ice. It didn’t take long before he was using the chair as his hockey stick and thrusting it towards the goal. We had a great time and it got me thinking. Knowing he was interested in hockey and this was only the beginning, maybe I should learn how to skate. I knew if my boys were playing hockey one day, I’d want to be out there with them practicing.
Later, while picking up some stuff at Fleet Farm, I just had to take a look. And wouldn’t you know it, hockey skates were on sale. How could I say no?
A couple weeks later, we found ourselves back on the ice, this time a local ice skating rink. Joey just wanted to slide on the ice with his boots that day. I donned my skates. Now, I remember skating when I was really young and I roller-bladed a lot in high school, but that was half a lifetime ago. It was pretty much like starting from ground zero. The lady running the warming shack was very sweet, offering Joey and I hockey sticks and a puck. For a hour, we raced back and forth pretending we were the Nashville Predators beating team after team. I don’t remember the score, but I do know that Joey kept track of the number of times I fell. Three. Not bad. Stopping was tricky and instead of a sharp cut, I sort of made a circle, more like a rookie figure skater than a hockey player. But it was fun, alot of fun, and I was already looking forward to going again. So was Joey. He was still talking about it weeks later. Afterwards we shared some hot chocolate in the warming house before joining my wife and other two boys for dinner.
Joey’s interest grew so we looked for more opportunities. Again we found a Learning to Play Hockey program, this time at the Greenheck Field House. This time Joey wasted no time challenging me to a race across the ice, then another, then another, about a dozen times before he was done. He won every time but one, although he would tell you he won them all. His confidence was growing. This ice was a lot more smooth than our hometown skating rink, which meant I fell more. Not a lot more, but definitely more. With several other parents watching, I’m sure they got a kick out of counting my falls just like Joey did. It didn’t take long before we were playing a pick-up game of hockey with some of the kids.
The ice may be gone for this year, and although I don’t even want to think about another winter at this point, I am looking forward to getting out skating with my boys again next year. Falls and all.
First Published Here: April 14, 2017