one warned me about the fine print. When I signed our marriage certificate
thirty some odd years ago, I didn’t notice the Hockey Clause
, as my grinning groom lovingly called it; the one indicating
‘absences for hockey purposes will be commonplace as soon as the ice is in.’
soon found out the hard way that, although my hubby loved me, he also loved
hockey. But, I decided early that jealousy would do me no good. Ranting and unsportsmanlike
behaviour would be futile. Best to settle in and buy new mittens and a blanket.
I did. I will admit that I could have made more of an effort but I really did
try to attend some games and tournaments. I couldn’t help that prior
engagements like shopping or library visits or a good book beckoned more than a
the life of me I couldn’t understand the rules of the game other than some big
thugs who were decked out in bulky uncomfortable equipment, and balancing on
blades were required to whack a piece of
hard, round rubber into a net and take out anyone in their way. Icing,
to me, was always the best part of the cake. Creases begged for the iron. Boarding
was when you rented a room.
dear man I married would raise his eyebrows. His patience never wore thin;
although I am sure he wondered how many times he would have to explain what icing meant. And then there was
off-side, neutral zones, face-offs, defense. Would it ever sink in? The most
important part to me was cheering for the right team when the puck sliced
through the air and into the net. Goals I could fathom. Rules didn’t make much
sense at first but over the years I started to grasp some and eventually came
to understand a little of the thrill of the game and the exhilaration so
familiar to my hubby.
our daughter came along it wasn’t long before we discovered how much she loved
going to Daddy’s games. So I started taking her to the tournaments. I even
cheered loudly, especially when my happy hubby was on the ice. For a few years
another hockey wife and I looked after refreshments and hot lunches at the
local tournament and made sure all the hockey aficionados were fed and watered
and ready to play again. I was getting used to this new way of life.
our son was born and the bug bit even harder. Daddy taught him the importance
of loving his momma and sister first and hockey a close second! There was
nothing sweeter than watching little tykes and tearaways skimming and falling
and trying and tripping. My son started to love the game and I loved watching
him love it.
must admit that I never really did grasp all the ins and outs of the rules but
still remained a cheering fan at both my son’s and my husband’s games.
Eventually, due to health reasons and stiffening joints, my hubby had to stop
playing. My son still plays recreational hockey with his firemen buddies,
although I don’t get to see his games any more. That’s what happens when the
children grow up and move away.
last week it happened all over again. “Grandma. Can you please come watch my
hockey game in the tournament on Saturday?” my daughter’s darling little lad
asked. She had married a goalie who lived and breathed hockey. Naturally, the
hockey gene was passed on with Grandpa’s blessing.
first game of the tournament was at 8am. I crawled out of my warm bed and got
ready for the cold arena – just like the good old days. Complete with warm
mittens and blanket, I headed out. That old familiar feeling came back and I
settled into my seat. It was pure bliss as I watched my grandson’s team skate
and stumble and rise and fall. The passion in my grandson’s eyes stirred my
heart and I found myself grinning like a Cheshire cat as he focussed and chased
that crazy little rubber puck around. Every so often a little gloved hand would
come up – a wave to Grandma. He scored three goals and I was beside myself.
Just a little lad, but such a familiar appetite for the sport. Grandpa stood
nearby. Quiet. I watched him watching our grandson flitting and falling and
getting up and pursuing his passion. I knew my grinning groom’s heart ached a
little. How he must miss being on the ice. But I could also see the joy in his
eyes as he watched our little tyke do his best.
I sidled up to the man I married.
“He’s doing pretty good, huh?” I said.
“Yep.” He was
thoughtful. I reached for his gloved hand. We watched our little grandson for a
little while longer.
“What’s icing?” I asked.
I recognized that smile and the raised eyebrows.
“It’s the stuff they put on top of a cake,” he
winked and squeezed my hand.