Here I am again. In a rink. Help me. I don’t know how I got here.
Let’s go back, way back to the last time I was here. I was a kid, and my brothers played hockey at the local arena. I hated everything about the place – the cold, the stink, the fact that I couldn’t skate. There I sat, squished by shoulders in the stands, nose running, fingers freezing, clued out as to why a bunch of boys would go to war over a black disc. The last thing that scene of scraping ice, slapping sticks and sweaty gear looked like was fun. Swimming, dancing, piano – now those were activities. Balancing, shivering on wee silver blades? Not so much.
Fast forward 25 years. My first child was a boy, and there was no hockey in his future. We were not a hockey family. I was not a hockey mom.
Then all the moms around me started engaging in this strange new jargon, this hockey talk. Oh no, here it comes, I thought, gathering my rationale. My kid’s an artist, I’d say, pointing to the unbelievable paintings he had spent hours brushstroking onto canvas.
That’s when my husband piped up. Although he was far from an NHL-watching, beer-drinking man-child, he did grow up playing pond hockey in Winnipeg. And surprise, surprise, he felt that skating was a skill Canadian boys should master young.
All I could think was Why? Why put boys, who are never going to make a living chasing a puck, who could seriously hurt the heads that could take them far in life, on a surface as mean as ice?
But in marriage, there are battles to pick and ignore and this was a male call. Plus, there was hockey mom peer pressure all around me. So I bought used skates, which are apparently worked in (and who knew if this insanity would last), and against my better judgment, I forced my poor child, who had zero interest in skating, onto the ice with nothing but a shaky, “You can do it!”
The question was: Could I?
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