Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Hockey Life: Spring break

I'll be honest, or as honest as I can be, and say outright: There are weeks when I struggle to come up with something to say every Sunday morning here on this little ole blog of mine. That doesn't stop me -- though it should at times, I suppose -- from trying. Nope, every Sunday, unless we're on vacation or something pops up, I manage to cobble together some random thoughts into a cogent column.

Yesterday, though, I wasn't so sure. There's not all that much going on, or so I thought. I lamented my  perception to Colin, who looked at me rather quizzically.

"What do you mean there's nothing going on," he asked? "It's spring break."

Well, you know, he had a point. It is spring break. Or, at least, it is here this week in our little peninsular corner of Hockey Bay.

To him, spring break means a week off from school, a chance to stay up late most nights and plenty of time to hang out and take some walks with Yours Truly.

Spring break also marks a pretty important date for him. This Friday, if everything goes well, he'll get a doctor's permission to shed his shoulder brace and resume playing hockey. It has been nearly a month since his collarbone was broken, thanks to the captain of his former travel team crunching him from behind during the final practice of the season.

For the past two weeks, Colin has been itching to play. He skated last Monday with his Pinellas P.A.L. Stars teammates at practice, working on his stickhandling and taking a few shots. Since then, he has worked out back, stretching his shoulders and arms with another session of stickhandling. Yesterday, we spent 30 minutes passing in a parking lot across the street.

Not once, from last Monday through today, has he said his shoulder has hurt. So, that's why we're hoping he gets the green light from his pediatric orthopaedist and can get back out on the ice.

"That'll be the highlight of my spring break," he told me.

Until then, though, we'll get to hang out. I look forward to his vacations from school. We don't get to spend as much time together as I'd like during the school year, so any time there's a break, it's a chance to chill out together and catch up.

Though nothing's written in stone, I'll do my best to keep him busy. We have a couple of hounding trips this week, as the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils come to town. I'll take him skating Wednesday, too. And he'll take part, as much as he can, in another Lightning Made Clinic on Thursday. I'm sure we'll get in some walks as well.

Simple stuff, really.

As much as I'd like to surprise him with an impromptu trip to a tacky tourist attraction or some overpriced theme park, we'll stick close to home. At the most, maybe we'll catch a flick, likely renting a movie over hitting a theater, or resume our Hockey Bay Pizza Tour, to see whether anything compares, or comes even remotely close to Precinct Pizza in Tampa.

Over the years, we've found that it seldom takes the spending of vast amounts money (not that we could ever claim to have that ability) to make lasting memories. Honestly, and this is a heartfelt truth, all it takes is spending time together. Quality time.

And you can't put a price on that.

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