Sunday, December 09, 2007

Oh, the good old hockey game, it's the best game you can name.....

Competitiveness is an inherent Darwinian trait all human beings share. It most likely has something to do with the drive to survive, but it comes out more around the kitchen table, in the high school cafeteria, in the classroom between two friends, in the pool, on the field, on the diamond, on the track, in the gymnasium, on the computer, in front of a TV, on the tennis courts, in the court, at the practise, in a game, over a guy, over a girl, in a car, on a trip, in a casino, on the lake, on the stage, in the backyard...... anywhere really.....
Yes, WE find our thrills shooting the rapids, jumping out of an airplane, searching for treasure, telemarking through the snowy tundra, climbing cliffs like crazy people. Is there anything we pursue that isn't competitive? If we are not competing against someone else, or the timeclock are we not competing against ourselves.......pushing, stretching, exploring, reaching beyond our best......
Faster, higher, stronger...........
On your marks.......get set......Ready..........GO!

Running, hiking, cycling, football, soccer, rugby, baseball, lacrosse, downhill skiing, kayaking, swimming, raquetball, tennis, gymnastics, tree climbing, mountain climbing, rapelling, rowing, your your competition.
Then there is hockey, a game all unto itself. It brings out the best and the worst of a Canadian citizen both in watching and playing it. A mild mannered Philosophy professor for example can all of a sudden turn into a crazed madman with a stick and a mission if you let him. What other country in the whole wide world frequently has some hockey story about a team trade on the front page of the national newspaper?

Many Canadians may not be able to rhyme off every provincial capital or name all of the Great Lakes. They may not know a guy named Steve is our Prime Minister, or how close the last referendum was in Quebec, but ask any kid young or old who Sidney Crosby is, or Mario, Wayne, or Stevie Y. Most Canadians will be able to tell you what the Great Gretky buried at centre ice just before the gold medal Olympic game in Utah (a lucky loonie of course) AND Ask anyone over the age of 40 where they were when Paul Henderson scored the winning goal in the 1972 Canada - Russia series (or a hockey crazed young buck who dreams big dreams of making the NHL) and then ask them to describe what it was like. Chances are, tears will spring even to the eyes of a seasoned hockey goon.

Competition Canadian style. Wanna join us?

Saturday night............IS Hockey Night in Canada. For 3 seasons out of 4, hockey takes precendence on our national public broadcasting station........ and if there's an important game say like the Montreal Canadiens vs. the Mighty Toronto Maple Leafs on the same night as a wedding or something like that??? The bride better be receptive to cable reception in the back of the banquet hall.

As a tribute to all things competitive Canadian style, before Hockey Night in Canada's theme song played on TV, a group of people ranging in age from 5 to 73 congregated last night on a cul-de-sac in minus 10 degree celcius weather for a little game of road hockey. Moms and Dads, a Grandpa.........and lots of kids took part. Bundled up in toasty layers of clothing complete with toques, gortex and fleece, the enthusiastic crew yelled "game on" and proceeded turn from mild mannered friends who would give you the shirt off their back to slashing stick handlers with a mission to WIN! It was the first game of the season, and we're off to a rousing start despite having a tough time seeing the yellow tennis ball puck in the dark.

After the game was over another Canadian tradition was waiting to be consumed (the adults anyways.......) Ice cold frosties cooling in the snow were awaiting this thirsty crew.

Yes, I do believe we are all born with the competitive gene.........where and how it shows itself depends on the interests and passions nutured along the way. For us in our little corner of the does reign..........but we are also pretty darn fond of a rousing game of..........well, just about anything. Perhaps it's because the winters are long? Whatever it is, I can't imagine living a life void of a good game of somethin'.


This week's prompt for Sunday Scribblings is competition. For more competitive musings, head to this spot! Ready, set, GO!


Neo said...

AW - Hey now I thought you were supposed to use a puck? What's up with that?

Btw, here's something you might appreciate: Canada vs Russia's fight from back in the day:


- Neo

tongue in cheek said...

Since i have never lived in the snow before i appreciated your photos of JOY! How fun to play hockey like that, on the streets. The coke in its natural cooler was very clever!

Gypsy said...

Well Dana as you know my sport of choice in the Winter is Aussie Rules Football and we share the same passion for that as the Canucks do for hockey. You can strike up a conversation just about anywhere and football will inevitably pop up within the first 5 minutes. How I miss it and the cold weather :)

Awareness said...

Hey Neo! yeah, it's ball hockey on the road....the puck just doesn't slide properly. But I think we need to find a flourescent little ball instead.
thank you for the link! I do remember that fight. It was so unusual because those dust ups don't really happen during international competitions.

tongue in was a JOYfull evening. I did play a bit, but I loved standing back watching the wide range of ages play together.
Oh, and the iced drinks? It was only beer! :)

Gypsy....Yes, I knew you could relate. The passion felt is the same. And, yes you can strike up a conversation about the sport at anytime, though I find most of the conversations I have about hockey are with men.........not like there's anything wrong with that!

self taught artist said...

thanks for stopping by and the comment!
your post is a good reminder of some healthy fun and competitiveness. this wasn't a one sided prompt this week was it, a little competition makes life rich!

Just Jen said...

You forgot the Timmies...LOL
I never even thought about the true competition in hockey! I should have written that, I'm in a family of all boys and living in Canada. Hockey is breathing here! LOL

Skyelarke said...

HOCKEY! Love the game. Was at the game this past weekend Canucks vs Penguins (& Crosby) AND it was a wild game, complete with a fight in the stands that involved police to break it up! A true Cdn sport. When I lived in NB though I saw more snowmobiles than hockey games. :-)

Awareness said...

s.t.a. Oh, yes.... a little competition does make life more interesting. I've always believed that.

Jen....oh I did forget!! I must be slipping! A round of double doubles please....for everyone! Let's toast to Mr. Tim Horton himself, a great Leafs hockey star.

Sky.....what a lucky one you are! Crosby's first visit to Vancouver and you got to go.....and a fight in the stands no less? Doesn't get much better. :)
Yeah, am not a native New Brunswicker, so the whole snowmobiling/moose hunting/duck hunting thing? I don't get it. :)
Not that these are done together. However, I think beer drinking is the common denominator.

Marja said...

Sorry don't feel the passion of hocky. Did once though. In Italy where we went on holiday it was a religion. I learned the word Otcho from our Italien friends which means look out of your lids. They took us out to a....hockie game.
I had enough after a while and started to tell loudly how they should play the game. In my eyes they were just pushing each other No control. I made it. I was the star after that. I was in the winning team.

paris parfait said...

I once dated a hockey player for the New York Rangers. And I have a friend from Northern California who's currently playing professionaly for one of the Canadian teams. He was so serious about hockey, at age 17 he needed surgery to replace nerves in his shoulder He would let nothing deter him; I expect he'll play as long as he's physically able.

thefirecat said...

I've been known to use frozen potatoes to play lake hockey, when we ran out of pucks. Stuck it in a bucket of ice water, bring it outside, and voila!

It's true. My first childhood crush was Reijo Ruotsalainen, which greatly annoyed my dad, since the fan jerseys were an additional 2 dollars an iron-on letter. Why couldn't I like Paul Cyr? Or Barry Beck? Even Don Maloney was cheaper when he had to use his full name because his brother Dave also played! But no, Rexi it had to be.

Remember Robert Goulet forgetting the words to O Canada? Phil Esposito tripping over the blue line? When the blue seats at Madison Square Garden were actually still blue? Eddie Giacomin's twenty-minute standing ovation when he stopped a goal--for the opposing team? I know you do. And I know you cried, too, when The Great One hung it up, just like I did. (only you probably cried when he got traded from the Oilers.)

Thanks for winter memories from my childhood.