Most times it’s the smallest things that have the biggest impact.
The Boy’s team had a tourney in Ottawa the year before last. Our boys won their first two games and were doing quite well. In the third game, they came up against a weak opponent and, with a semi-final berth secured, the coach decided to shuffle his players around for the third period. Defencemen were moved up to forward positions and forwards (including the Boy) were moved back to defence where they could get some experience and have some fun in a somewhat foreign role. The Boy, who is defensive minded, has played forward for the last several years, but was moved back to the blue line on this rare occasion. This was also a year when all players began adding slap shots to their repertoire, invariably trying to mimic the booming blasts of NHL stars. But they all had a ways to go to reach Al MacInnis status (or even the much lesser known Bob MacInnis status, for that matter)
As it turns out, this tournament also had an enterprising local businessman who would record and burn every game to DVD and then offer the same to proud parents for a “nominal” price. Our team took advantage of a special offer, whereby we would each get full recordings of all games for $20. We would receive six DVDs in total as it turned out because the Boys made it to the Finals; so not a bad deal at all. Personally, the $20 I spent on the DVDs was simply justified by a roughly 10 second clip within a single game.
The particular game in question found several other fathers and I standing right next to the videographer who was dutifully capturing the sights and sounds on the ice below.
To paraphrase and somewhat colour commentate the 10 seconds of action provided herein, a puck sent around the boards by the other team in the offensive zone was intercepted by the Boy (top left corner of the video) who was pinching in from his new found defensive position. Recognizing an opportunity to unleash a gargantuan blast from the point, the Boy loaded up and took a mighty swing…….. If you listen closely, you can hear several fathers and I bellowing out a resounding “Whoooaaas”, “OLEs!” and “Ha Ha Ha’s” as the Boy triumphantly misjudged the position of the puck or the length of his stick. In short, he flat out missed. Unfortunately, what you don’t see in the video is the Boy’s subsequent response to our emphatic “OLE!”, which is nothing short of classic. At 13, the Boy had the presence of mind to give us a ceremonial middle-finger salute and I could see the grin on his face from across the ice. These are the images which shall forever be etched in my memory. He immediately grasped the humour of the moment and played right along.
This seemingly simple snippet of time in an inconsequential game is the true definition of hockey for me and why I cherish watching my kids play. Had the Boy simply fired the puck into the corner or even put a decent shot on net, it wouldn’t have left the same idelible mark as that wondrous miscue and the honest reactions that followed. I should, however, point out that the “Whoas”, “OLEs” and “Ha Ha Ha’s” have come back to haunt me in spades as the Boy regularly looks and derisively comments on the rec hockey miscues of his 40+ Dad, which occur on a much more regular basis.
As I watch this clip again for the umpteenth time, I just wish I had more of this stuff on video.