Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Was Born Wearing Skates

Well, not quite -- but close! My parents threw me on the ice at the age of 3, and my Dad put me on a ringette team by the time I was 4. I was much younger and smaller than the rest of the girls, and I was a terrible skater. Thankfully, a kindly coach took pity on me and took me over to the side of the rink to practice my skillz until I caught up with the rest of the team. I played for 14 years, and I miss it like hell.

What does the above have to do with Hockey memories? As a young ringette player, I idolized the Oilers. I was bred to be an Oilers fan, watching games with my Dad almost since birth, but it was strapping on those skates that really allowed me to identify with the players and understand how talented they truly are. Nothing beats the rush of cold air on your face as you skate as hard as you can; That sensation of smooth speed as you glide over the frozen water's surface is unlike any other. As a young'un, this love of the ice is something that I was sure I had in common with my heroes Messier, Tikkanen, and Gretzky -- And knowing this brought me closer to the game and to the Oilers as a fan.

With my name clumsily printed on masking tape on the front of my helmet and blue sweatpants over my pads in place of the Cooperalls that I coveted, but didn't come small enough to fit me, I'm sure I looked ridiculous attempting to imitate a classic Gretzky wrap-around. But during those few sloppy moments, I was the great Gretz. I was a part of my favorite team, at least in my mind, and I could not have loved hockey more.

No comments: