Lake Tranquility is the perfect size for hockey. It's small enough to freeze but big enough to set up two goals without getting in other people's way. A high school winter break can drag on if you don't keep busy. So John invited us to play ice hockey on the lake. Why not?
I knew I couldn't skate worth a damn. There was no hiding it. The teams were divided amongst me, John our two other high school buddies and a bunch of grammar school kids who skated on ice better than I walked on land. All agreed I should play goalie.
I got bored playing goalie. I called to one of the younger kids, "Hey, how about you let me go out there for a while and you play goal."
"No way," the kid said, literally skating circles around me.
"Well," I said, trying to offer some kind of lesson to the lad, "Don't you think it's fair that we should all get a chance to play different positions?"
"No way, man" he said again.
"Why not?" I said.
"'Cuz you suck." he said.
With that, I dropped my stick and chased and chased and chased this little maggot. I couldn't catch him. He was right; I did suck. I accepted my place in goal for the rest of the afternoon.
John's got kids now -- twin boys. They are addicted to hockey. They play in a league where, already
this year, they 've played 55 games in 4 states. And that's just for the winter "traveling season." These boys only seven years old. They receive top-notch instruction from a man who was teammates or roommates or some kind of mate with Martin St. Louis. Will the boys grow up to be like the Lundquist twins or the Staal brothers? I hope so, if that's what they want.
Whatever happens I hope they learn that in some games, in some sports, sometimes you suck.