Man, I really loved me some roller hockey.
My game never translated on ice (mostly because I could never master the art of stopping without either taking someone down with me or simply crashing into the boards), but I could really play on pavement. The game was really a lot of fun and the organized leagues that I played in featured mostly guys who loved hockey and took things just serious enough for the games to be truly competitive. Each season would find me on some ragamuffin team of misfits who had been thrown together at the last minute, as I rarely experienced a team that could stay together for more than a year.
But it was okay like that.
Suddenly I was playing with and alongside guys who had played against me just a season before that, so it felt like I’d been traded or it allowed me to fantasize about being a highly paid and recently signed free agent on a new team. The games were a lot of fun and typically played late into weeknight evenings or very early on weekend mornings. And while it was purely amateur hour, every game felt like the real thing and there was no shortage of drama and opportunities for glory.
For me there was one standout game when our Blackhawks squad needed to win a game to qualify for the post season and that crucial game dramatically went into overtime. It ended up as one of those moments that you dream about as a kid where you hit the game-winning home run, sink a buzzer-beater from 20-feet out, or in this moment, skating in alone on the goalie in overtime with a playoff berth on the line.
I can still see the play develop like it happened yesterday…
The puck was near the benches where three players from the other team converged on one of our guys named Tim. Tim somehow wrangled the puck onto the blade of his stick through a mass of sticks and skates and seeing that, I took off from our blue line and desperately called for the puck. Without hesitating Tim dumped it to me and here I was experiencing the fantasy of skating in alone on the goalie in overtime. I faked left and with the puck on my forehand I went up high on the goalie and scored the game-winner that sent us to the playoffs.
It is a moment that still brings me joy today just thinking about it, and perhaps that seems a little sad to my readers, especially knowing that it happened 24 years ago, but what’s a guy to do?
I long for those moments of euphoria, and have been fortunate enough to experience rushes of greatness that easily surpass that breakaway moment from so long ago…
December 6, 1997: An amazing day of rain, family and friends as Samantha and I are married.
April 5, 2004: At 7:14 AM we welcomed our precious, screaming Emily into the world.
November 1, 2009: Narrowly avoiding the dreaded Halloween birthday, little Trevor joins our family.
So obviously milestone family moments easily eclipse a stupid game-winning goal in roller hockey, but you get a sense for the emotional barometer that I am talking about here. It’s that throw your arms in the air and hug everyone around you moment. You are floating on air and want the moment to last forever.
And as I mentioned, it’s the type of moment that when you look back on it you smile and savor.
I haven’t had any new moments like that in a while, and now I am starting to wonder if I’ll have any more.
Last night I attended a work dinner where I came to the realization that I am old and mostly uninteresting to the younger group of employees who report to me. It wasn’t difficult to discern that I didn’t have much to offer in this social setting, as two of them purposely volunteered to not sit next to me at the table. Sure, I could wallow around and feel sorry for myself, and if I’m completely honest I have to admit that it stung a bit, but the reality is that I’m 48-years-old and they are half my age, unmarried and more concerned with where the next party is than what time the babysitter has to be home.
I totally get it.
Trust me when I tell you that the 24-year-old version of me would want no part of 48-year-old me, but then again I have to cringe at that skinnier, handsomer version of myself with all that hair.
I was a moron back then, but that was the year that I scored my glorious OT game-winner, so I wasn’t all that bad, right?
But how did this happen? How did the moments of glory cease to exist? Well, it has suddenly dawned on me that they are happening to me on a daily basis and I am choosing to ignore them.
There are these sweet and silent victories that easily outrank a top shelf roller hockey goal, but in my feeble mind I’m too busy wanting the selfish glory and spotlight all to myself so I am missing out on the jazz hands celebrations that should be breaking out each and every day.
Samantha is amazing. A woman of God, an amazing wife and graceful mother, she has served this family in such a wonderful way and has loved us beyond compare that we sometimes take her for granted. And perhaps it is easy to overlook the fact that her patience, faith, diligence and talents have all been paying off so wonderfully in her position as Admissions and Marketing Director at the kids’ school.
Sam should be celebrated more than any stupid hockey goal, in fact for all that she does for us and for all that she is, Samantha should have her very own victory parade.
Emily is fast becoming our little scholar. Fifth grade is certainly no picnic and the homework is looking a lot like the high school work that I experienced way back in the 80s, and after a rough start to the school year she has not only rebounded to bring home all A’s and B’s, but she is truly loving the success that comes with studying hard and applying herself. We are also so proud of the athlete that is suddenly blossoming, as she is making lasting contributions on both volleyball and soccer teams at her school.
Emily could score that OT game-winner with a blindfold on and should be celebrated for the person she is: A beautiful, talented and gifted young lady. She should be carried around on our shoulders each day rejoicing in her every victory.
Trevor is our puzzle man. Each day is spent assembling a multitude of puzzles across the expanse of our living room floor. When he is done with puzzles he is constructing some fairly amazing things with his Lego blocks. Watching his brain work and listening to his observations make it quite obvious to us that he is destined for greatness.
Trevor would have stopped my overtime shot on goal simply by outsmarting me and is the living embodiment of a victory celebration.
My sweet family brings about more joy and amazing glory to me than any material achievement that I could conjure up on my own. To think that I oftentimes miss out on experiencing that in the moment is practically criminal, but that happens sometimes in this life as time flies by a little too quickly for us. We get up every morning, throw it together and go to work on Monday and before you know it you are sitting at a work dinner on a Friday night feeling sorry for yourself. Thankfully God grants us moments to both reflect and repent, to slow down and rejoice, and to truly be content with this journey of life that we are on.
In life I have received a pass and I’m breaking in again but I am certainly not alone, but one thing remains the same…