Hockey manifests itself in so many ways in so many different people. In most, it’s a love for a team, a player, a coach; its someone or something that’s bigger than yourself that you can root for to succeed. It’s a love for the game, in all aspects of how it’s played; it’s tearing up over sledge hockey or attending a local rec. league or high school game. In some, it’s a passion for playing.
After barely two months in hockey skates, it’s come to mean so much to me.
I’ve recently had to miss a few public skating sessions for family events — and mid-twenties life — and I felt off. I felt unbalanced and uneasy, longing for something under my feet so different than gravel. I do live in the north-east of the United States so I have gotten to "skate" across the ground in these freezing temperatures, but it’s so not the same. In the short time I’ve been skating I’ve figured out that nothing really is.
Hockey, for me, has become an escape. It’s become a way to push myself when I think I’ve given my all; it’s become a new exercise regimen; it’s become my new form of therapy. I’ve found that once I get out there, I’ve forgotten the stresses of work or that I’ve been separated from my phone (which is usually a constant in my hand). It’s given me a way to relax and to let go and to better myself.
Before I started learning to play, the impact of the game on me was much more superficial. It was being one of the "cool girls" who thoroughly understood a sport, it was the following of my team and my favorite players, even when they’d moved to greener pastures. It was love, but it was on the surface.
Learning to play has made me fall in love. And yeah, I fell hard. I’m finding that, each day, I’m wishing it were a day I could get to the rink. I’ve re-evaluated my work schedule to see if I can fit in an open skate session, I’ve canceled "date days" and postponed grocery shopping, all in an effort to get on my skates. I, just yesterday, booked a vacation around a plane landing back home on time for me to get to my hockey clinic.
Hockey is something that’s easy to fall fast for, because it can connect to your soul on a level not much else can reach. There’s a reason so many of us still want to do it even when there’s nothing for us to gain.
It’s the love of the game.