Sunday, July 15, 2012
The Hockey Life: At the rink
As much fun as our trip back to my hometown has been, the best part, so far, was a little more than an hour spent yesterday morning at a street hockey rink in Arcade, N.Y.. No, it wasn't that there was some old-timers game, though that would've been a hoot. It was taking Colin there, so we could share a memory where I once played.
It was something I've wanted to do for the past few months, revisiting my so-called glory days with him, part of our so-called history tour. That some old friends joined us only made it more enjoyable. Most of the stories they told Colin were true, too.
During our time there, in between setting the record straight and defending my honor, I couldn't help but flash back to those days, to the mid to late 1970s, when my body could cash any check my mind wrote. Talk about a personal trip down memory lane.
There were games played in snowstorms, when we had to clear out the rink, or at least the center and blue lines, between periods. The walks to an Arcade convenience store between games, to load up on junk food or, if necessary, buy a new Mylec Air-Flo. Even the postgame brawls, outside on the park road, bring smiles these days.
Really, though, it was a time to connect and reconnect.
For my buddies, it was great to see them. For one, it has been at least 30 years. Though we've traveled different paths in life, this was one of the rare times when they crossed. Going forward, and especially as we get older, I hope our visits are more frequent.
Want to know what's funny? Even though we're all in our 50s now, I still think of us as kids. This morning, however, tells me we're not. I'll bet we're all feeling the same aches and pains.
With Colin, it was a little different. Though the rink doesn't seem as big as it did back then, I'm thinking it was larger than life for him. To think that his daddy, about 150 pounds heavier and an inch shorter, played hockey there only reinforced that I just might know what I'm talking about, but only when it comes to hockey.
Of course, we took photos of us at the rink, like this one of Colin and myself, sitting in a penalty box, grinning from ear to ear like two little kids in a hockey store. I know it's one of my favorite pictures. I'm hoping, too, that Colin will feel the same way.
Down the road, should Colin become a father, there will come a day when he'll think back to this trip and, especially, the visit to the rink. Maybe he'll bring his children, especially if they're hockey players, to the Tampa Bay area, showing them where he grew up and, yes, played his earliest hockey.
If I'm still around, I want to tag along. On that day, life, for me, will come full circle.