November 11, 2018

Childhood's end?

The silence of the roadsters is deafening.

Even after last weekís call to arms, only Sunday Morning Road Hockeyís founding father, Living Legend, and Nouvelle Guy answered on yet another perfect day to play.

Vague promises of players recommitting have yet to be realized with sticks in the pile, bodies on the sidelines. Remember when teams could form two lines and some players would complain that meant they didnít get enough court time?

Even the comments board on roadhockey.net has gone quiet, save for the Cialis spam.

So, perhaps itís only appropriate we turn this issue of roadhockey.net over to the commissioner:

Road hockey is the game of our youth.
For 27 years, Sunday Morning Road Hockey has been a weekly connection with our younger selves, even as the passage of time renders us greyer, slower, less agile.
For two or so hours a week, we could be 12 years-old again, throwing our sticks into a pile to choose up sides, racing after the evil orange plastic ball with delusions of Gretzky dancing in our heads.
The game was an escape, a world separated from the reality of jobs, relationships, the responsibilities and pressures of adulthood. We gave each other goofy nicknames because thatís what hockey players used to do and the newly-forged monikers affirmed the divide of our road hockey selves from the realities of our day-to-day lives.
Somehow, the formula endured even as players came and went. Games would be won and lost on a weekly basis, but the culture of the game never wavered, and every roadster became very protective of it.
Thatís why we played in the rain. Thatís why we shoveled snow and ice. Thatís why we played through injury and illness. Thatís why we scoured for new recruits when the ranks thinned. Because if the game ever went away, it would feel like weíd lost a piece of our youth.
Itís hard to say how many roadsters chased the evil orange plastic over the years. Some alighted for a game and never returned, others encamped for years.
Sunday Morning Road Hockey started as a bunch of work colleagues blowing off a little steam on a decommissioned tennis court. The nets were spare boots and jackets. The players brave enough to guard those nets did so with little more protection than a worn baseball glove and a goalie stick. One of them stuck to that ethos for so long, he became legendary.
When the courts were opened a couple of years later as part of a school reconstruction, the game moved but its spirit remained rooted at those tennis courts where it was all about running around, having a few laughs, scoring a few goals, then heading home tired and eager for the next game. The very same spirit that drew us out as kids into the cold winter air after dinner so we could ďtake shotsí with our buddies under the streetlights, or anticipating a snowfall because we knew the snowplow would make the street slick and, for a day or two, we could slide around in our boots during a game like real hockey players, or studying our hockey cards to be able to call play-by-play.
Most of those kids grew up. But for those who refused, who clung to those innocent days, I would hope itís been a heck of a lot of fun.

Living Legend

Posted by jaysuburb at November 11, 2018 08:32 PM
Comments

pig and elvis will indeed be in the house, so we should be good for goalies.

Posted by: pfg at November 18, 2018 12:06 AM

Hi Kid,

No worries I have helmet and jock-so all good to go and pfg may show tomorrow.

Posted by: lakattack at November 17, 2018 09:49 PM

Bit of a good news bad news situation Lak...I found the leg pads, blocker and glove, but I don't have an extra helmet or cup for you.

Posted by: Kid at November 17, 2018 09:08 PM

I am a firm maybe!

Posted by: Doo at November 17, 2018 03:47 PM

Elvis and I will be there at 10. Billy Idol might join in as well

Posted by: pfg at November 17, 2018 02:31 PM

10:30 as always PFG. Would be good to pick your top corner again ;-)

Posted by: Living Legend at November 16, 2018 05:12 PM

I will be there with big D

Posted by: Nouvelle at November 16, 2018 07:12 AM

I will be there with big D

Posted by: Nouvelle at November 16, 2018 07:12 AM

Wow. dropped by the site to check out how things were going, and came across the virtual bell tolling...I'm having brunch in nw west on Sunday, thought I might try and squeeze a game in, and looks like possibly just in time! What time does the game start again, 10:30...? I'll try and make it happen

Posted by: pfg at November 16, 2018 12:38 AM

Just picked up a chest protector and pants: all ready to go for Sun! Also might have a new recruit for the following week.

Posted by: lakattack at November 15, 2018 06:42 PM

Kid! Sounds good! Thx

Posted by: lakattack at November 14, 2018 10:37 AM

This is encouraging! If a few more players check in for Sunday, we'll be back on track! Hey, where'd all the spam go?

Posted by: Living Legend at November 13, 2018 09:40 PM

I would love to play.
Iím out of town this weekend but should be able to come out starting Sunday, November 25th.

Posted by: The Colonel at November 13, 2018 09:08 PM

I'll be there too!

Lak, I can bring almost a full set of goalie gear for you...just no pants or chest protector

Posted by: Kid at November 13, 2018 06:30 PM

Such doom and gloom!! I will be coming out next Sunday...all done with personal crap! Ready to play some real hockey next week!

Posted by: lakattack at November 12, 2018 09:40 AM

Well said Colonel. Thanks.
Frankly, the lack of discourse on this board the past two weeks has me more concerned than the lack of bodies at the courts. Kinda worries me the current generation of players isn't willing to fight for the game anymore.

Posted by: Living Legend at November 12, 2018 09:39 AM

ďResilience - the ability to recover or bounce back from hardship.ď

I think it is, perhaps, dangerous for me to comment here but I will nonetheless. And I do so with the intention of paying my respect to the commitment that many, especially Legend, have made to those who have played together for so long. I have thoroughly enjoyed 20 years of the game, I have predominantly good memories, and I am thankful to have been able to play with and against all of you, week-to-week, year-to-year, decade-to-decade.

I donít think that weíre seeing apathy. I think there is plenty of spirit inside many to continue to play this game with people we genuinely care about. I can say unequivocally, that I bare no ill will towards any roadster and that I wish all extremely well in the future.

I think the issue weíre seeing is related to resilience; more specifically, a somewhat surprising lack of resilience within relationships that once endured far more significant trial than what we experienced in last yearís Stick - trial that I was in the middle of and that I am certainly partially responsible for.

Hockey is a game that elicits emotions; some good, some misplaced. But through that emotion over the years weíve had the resilience in relationship to know that regardless of what occurred in the heat of the moment, no one ever truly meant personal disrespect to another player. That at the end of the game (and predominantly throughout the game) we were a community of Sunday-morning-friends. We thrived off playing together, having fun, being competitive, winning, losing, cheering each other on, and doing everything we could to stop those on the other side from prevailing.

In reflection on last yearís Stick, I have come to the conclusion that some of that relationships-resilience wasnít what it was in the past; or perhaps that some didnít understand that it was there and, perhaps therefore, reacted according thinking that some level of threat existed. I think this was unfortunate. I can recall so, so many earlier instances across the years and amongst a multitude of players that were far more significant. Names like PaulOne, Lak, Bing, Unabomber, Rudy, Kid, Philderama, Wink, Lobster Boy, Legend, Holt, Bam Bam, Scooby, Doo, Velma, Scrappy, PFG, and the list goes on ... none without emotion, none without the occasional (or more) skirmish or chirp in them.

For the game to go on, a return to the community that was is needed. One where players know and understand that ultimately, we all have each othersí backs. One where resilience in relationship is re-established. One where we understand that, on occasion, emotions are going to rise but that even in that rise, we have the faith and trust to know that when the emotion subsides, weíre friends enjoying something together that really isnít avaialble in another form.

I suppose the only real question left to be answered is, ďAre we collectively willing to put in the good work to reap the great rewards that have come from congregating most Sundays over the last 27 years?Ē

If not, Iíll end by thanking each and every one of you for many awesome times. And, Iíll pay tribute once again to the Living Legend. Were it not for his tireless commitment and true zest for the evil orange plastic ball, there would never have really been a game at all. Thank you Mario. Thank you Roadsters.

Posted by: The Colonel at November 12, 2018 12:36 AM