Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Many Seasons of Hockey

          A farmer knows the many seasons of the field –
                                             A season for plowing the earth
                                             Sowing the seeds
                                             Tending the crops and
                                             Harvesting the grains.

             A boy knows the many seasons of ice hockey in his life.

There is the season of wishing and waiting to play hockey someday.
 At two he watched his brother play hockey
Wearing paper plate mask
Grandma designed with cut-out grids
Fastened around the head with an elastic band,
Hockey shirt of cotton remnant
Superman emblem drawn by Grandpa,
Hockey stick of poster board cut to shape,
Typewriter ribbon for hockey puck.

At four, he was old enough to bring
Water bottles to brother’s hockey dugout.
At six, he tried on brother’s helmet marked with “Killa.”

With second hand skates from the resale shop
He took his first steps on ice
Skating and falling, putting the blame on wet ice.
Skating forward, can’t stop
                                                       Can’t go backwards.
                                                       Making friends at the rink
                                                       With soda to drink

Making it to the Mites League:
Missing two weeks of pre-season hockey,
Blame this on Mom’s inattention.
Begging the sport shop to stay open late
For equipment needed in 20 minutes.
He wore his team’s official hockey uniform
No longer putting up with Mom’s jeans.
He stood on ice as defense
A position just made for his build.
Hitting the puck so hard
He fell down right after the feat.
He dived to stop the puck
But got hurt instead and
Lost the game in spite of that ‘sacrifice.”

From Big Brother came this advice:
        “Skate more and dive less.
He learned to skate forward, backward,
Make a snowplow stop.
His brother got in as one of the coaches
For little brother’s team.
Winning more often and losing less
His team made the play-offs then the                                   
championship game.

      The Season for champions:
The National Anthem played
While players stood at attention on ice.
Little boy’s name and number
Introduced through the speaker,
Made mother’s heart pound
As the championship game began.
Impenetrable defense, team's goalie kept the other team from scoring
Marvelous offense  made goals for his team.
         Team work, passing, speed skating
         First period, second period, third period – the bell rang
His team had won!

A season of rejoicing -
          Helmets off, sticks up, face sweating,
          Happy but thirsty, he asked for two pops,
          One for drinking, another for pouring
          Over the head as pros do.

          Proud parents, big brother were all smiles
          As he received awards and commendations from his coach.
          The close of the winter hockey season 
          Begins the season of love.

      Season of Harvest
          A time to reflect on the season just ended  - 
          The joy of togetherness driving to and from games,
          Sharing the excitement of victory
          Stroking hockey helmet after a loss,
          Planning strategies with Mom
          Who has never skated in her life.
          Public skating for more power and stamina
          Hockey clinics in mid-season.
          Trading $400 Canadian hockey camp for
          $7.50 book on how to be better in hockey.
          Packing shin guards, socks, pants, garter belt, helmet in bag
          To wait for another season of hockey.
          Mother’s fever for bringing up two boys
          Born with hockey sticks.

                         July 30, 1986
                       Revised March 6, 2010