Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Hockey Life: Out for a skate

Since last August, about the time Colin started the school year, I began walking as a way to become healthier, lose some weight and clear my mind. For the most part, these walks are a solo excursion, done after dropping him off at school or in between freelance gigs and shifts at the paper.

When time and hockey seasons allow, mostly on Sundays, Colin will join me for a quick, as in 40 to 45 minutes, walk near our neighborhood, the last little stretch along what we've dubbed, because of the many residents we spy, Turtle Creek. Lately, though, we've added another walk to the lineup.

About every other Saturday, once again based on hockey and work schedules, we head off on what usually proves to be the longest walk of my week, more than 4.5 miles, with most of the route right along Coffee Pot Bayou and Tampa Bay here in St. Petersburg. To say that Colin walks, however, would be an understatement.

No, rather than slip on a pair of sneakers, he laces up his inline hockey skates for our trip. With the sidewalks on our route wide and smooth, it presents a solid opportunity for him to get in a little skating. As you can see, too, he doesn't take it easy.

With several long stretches of straightaways, he uses them for sprints. He often skates a good 25 to 30 yards ahead of me and then double backs, so I'm thinking he puts in more like 5.5 to maybe 6 miles by the time we get back home. For him, they're a great workout.

Of course, he draws greetings, smiles and double-takes. Seeing a kid, especially one wearing a hockey helmet and gloves, as well as carrying a hockey stick, isn't a common sight around this area. I'm sure he soaks it up. I do.

These walks, not surprisingly, have more than one purpose. They give us more time to talk. Not just about hockey, either, but about anything that comes up. School. Life. A certain someone up in Etobicoke, Ontario. Family. Cars. Even ospreys.

Step by step, stride by stride and word after word, we make our way along our route. He thinks we're just taking a walk. No, there's more to it than that. Much more.

And that, my friends, is what it's all about.

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