Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Father's Day Tribute... to Mom

[Cross-posted to Interchangeable Parts]

This post is part of our on-going off-season series called "Reasons We Love Hockey".

It being Fathers’ Day, IPB would like to take a moment to pile on the schmaltz while examining one of the reasons we love hockey. Our father passed away 14 years ago, and was not much of a sports fan himself, so we can’t pull out that old trope of baseball writers everywhere and wax poetic about drowsy summer afternoons spent playing catch with the old man. But we can instead sing the praises of hockey and how it is…

The Backdrop For Our Friendship As Adults With Our Mother.

We were both teenagers when our father died, and although we had always been close with our mother, what we discovered in the months following the loss of our dad was that we were in uncharted water with Boomer, who was then just “Mom”. We found out that, beyond being the provider of maternal nurturing we had always known and loved, she was also an actual human being. A human being with the same sense of humor we had, the same interests we had, the same irreverent, giggly, silly approach to life we had. She was, in short, cool. And how did we find this out? Through our shared discovery of and immediate obsession with hockey.

One random evening in October of 1995, the three of us were gathered around the television, flipping through a zillion channels all airing nothing but boring spew. We stumbled across a Rangers-Flames game and decided to leave it on. Mark Messier scored his 500th goal that game, and we were all hooked. Within a matter of weeks we had purchased the Center Ice package, sworn off going to movies, and ceased eating out. Hockey had become our lives. And “Mom” revealed to us, as we gobbled up every snippet of hockey information we could find, that she was just as fascinated as we were. Every day we’d come home from work or school to find she’d purchased a new book of hockey history, or had ordered a new media guide from some random team, or had picked up a pack of hockey cards for us to open and giggle over. She developed a crush on Mike Richter, and started pasting pictures of him up on our kitchen cabinets. She wore a hockey sweater as a winter coat to her job as a high-school librarian, and the Senior jock boys used to drop by her office to talk hockey with her. Right before our eyes she became… our peer. We were suddenly equals. And she was the coolest person we knew.

The final step in her transformation from Mom to Friend was when she announced one day, “I don’t want you to call me ‘Mom’ anymore. I want a cool nickname. I want you to call me ‘Boomer’.” Done, and done!

After her freshman year of college (and while Pookie was still in high school), Schnookie had taken a year off, moved back home, and saved up a ton of money while living rent free. When the year-long hiatus was over, she had two choices: use the moneys to take Pookie back to Europe to re-create the trip our grandmother had taken us on, or buy season tickets for the three of us to one of the local NHL teams. There was no question: we wanted to spend the money on something we could enjoy with Boomer, too. So we did a little research, decided the Meadowlands would be the easiest for us to get to for games on worknights, and opted for Devils tickets. And the rest is history.

So when we reflect back on our experiences as hockey fans, we have a lot of fond memories. But the ones that are most important to us are the countless hours of laughter and fun we’ve shared with Boomer.


Heather B. said...

:::tears::: My dad died when I was four and my mom is equally as amazing as Boomer. She never quite got the whole sports thing but she tried for me and that's almost as good.

Tracy said...

That's so cute... I want to cry. My dad is still alive but he might as well be dead for as much use as he is so my father's day/my birthday has been spent with my mom (about like every other day of my life, ha ha). She's awesome also, I'm slowly but surely turning her into a hockey-nut. I'm working hard on her... she'll get there soon enough!!

KMS2 said...

I think I am crying. I think the only way I could get my Mom to come to a game is if I promise her that it will end in a shootout. But she does support my obsession with hockey.

leanne said...

Huh. Mats Sundin scored his 500th goal early last season vs. the Flames. Lanny McDonald is the only Flame to have scored his 500th while wearing a Flaming C.

I wonder which team has had the most 500th goals scored against them?

(For the record, and as a holdover from the classic Battle of Alberta in my childhood, Moose's goal hurt much more than Mats' short-handed, overtime winner. They all suck though.)

Schnookie said...

Even if they don't love the hockey, moms who support the hockeylove are awesome, too!

Leanne, I can see how Mess's goal would have stung quite a bit. And as a Devils fan I should probably be ashamed that that's what hooked me on this sport. But just the way you can't choose your family, you can't choose your seminal hockey moment either, can you? :-)

Shmee said...

I am tearing up at work...that was beautiful. Its amazing that that through this tragedy, you found a great relationship with your Mom.

McPhizzle said...

Even though I have a (step)father now, all my life, I was in your boat. Cheers to Moms who do Dad's job(too) everywhere!!!