The Line

Today I was inspired by a post at The Clarity of Night in which Jason talks about his “line”, “the place where only you can pass and everything else is left behind”. I thought about this and I think I know my “line”.

In high school I was neither one of the cool kids. I played sports, but I definitely wasn’t invited to all of the parties. Nor was I one of the outcasts, one of the people who unfortunately, everyone dumped on. I would say I was either in the middle, or in the “upper bottom” of the coolness scale, not that it mattered to me. Anyhow, because of this I didn’t have a great amount of confidence. That is, unless I was playing street hockey.

When the Elementary school in my home town was built in the late 70’s they decided it would be a good idea to include a decent sized skating rink. This skating rink was really just a parking lot with a 6 or so inch high barrier that allowed them to fill the surface with water in the winter, allowing people to ice skate. In reality, they almost never flooded the surface, due to “insurance liability”.

Anyhow, my friends and I discovered this deserted piece of pavement would make a great place for street hockey and played there whenever we could. We were able to play there for free and no one ever seemed to complain. I guess they were just happy it was getting some use. The only trouble we ever made there was when someone was dumb enough to park directly behind one of our goals, I guess they saw us playing and thought their car was immune to hard, rubber hockey ball clanging off the doors. Sorry!

Whenever we were skating on that surface I felt alive. You could probably see the confidence in my body language from a mile away. Each game we chose different teams among us, so you were never quite sure who you would be skating with. However, we always played with the urgency of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Though there were usually five to ten people with me on a particular night, I always felt like myself while playing street hockey. I felt ALIVE.

We haven’t played street hockey there for a few years. Everyone has grown up and we have started having kids. Recently they did a major remodeling of the Elementary School, which decimated the surface we used to play on. I haven’t had the heart to look at what it has become, even though I visit home often. We play Ice Hockey now, but it isn’t the same.

Some day I hope to get the group together to play a game of street hockey, at least somewhere near our old “Arena” if only to feel that feeling I had as I skated up and down the pavement, looking to score a goal one last time.