It had already snowed quote a bit before everyone made their way to the ice around two PM. Saturday's forecast called for 15 cm of snow but it wasn't supposed to start until later in the day. The kids who were there early to claim their spot on the rink, quickly relinquished their end telling us "We've had to clear it about four times in the past hour."
It was, your post-card picture of a really Canadian weekend. The typical sort of Canadian-like activities. Drink beer. Suit up. Sit on a bench and pull off boots so your feet are exposed to the cold air. Then, the laces. Someone forgot to put their boots under the bench while we playing and the cruel consequence was about an inch of snow in the boot by the time we were done our game.
My friends are amazing people. They make me happy to be who I am which I guess is the mark of an ultimate friendship. I can mutter and shriek while I play hockey while gliding around the ice in the suburbs - and then I'm giddy and thankful about where I live because they're part of it.
The snow didn't stop us. It took us 45 minutes to clear the ice before we could play. Then we played. And then, we cleared the ice again so we could play a bit more. Alison's hands got ridiculously cold while she took all the action shots. Her camera fogged up when we got back inside but the gems she captured were worth it.
Drake and Brian might be my favourite guys - yea I think I have to give them that title. Drake told me the other day that they actually are "real life Bert and Ernie" and I'd have to agree. They're the kind of roommates who found each other due to circumstances and common interests, and they'll probably stay hanging out with each other until the end of time for the same reason. That's them both wearing number 15:
And then, the most amazing part of our day:
Last year nearly the exact same group of people got together in mutual disdain for the winter. It was almost the exact same weekend marking the beginning of the long month of February. We were making the best of our inhumane geographic destiny that traps us in this ice tundra for at least 4 months of the year. But at it's most basic, we were just trying to be good, non-complaining Canadians, embracing the ice and community rink that God gave us. A little guy named Connor was a bit wobbly on his feet, but he wanted to play. We knew his name because he had a "hello my name is sticker" smack dab in the middle of his helmet. His dad couldn't skate. He hung around the boards, watching as his seven year old wove amongst us, skating from one end of the rink and back again while chasing the puck between the big boys who were 3x his size.
On Saturday, it took me about half-an hour to realize that the slightly-taller-than-last-year-kid in the blue snowsuit who was hanging around while we were diiving up teams, was the same kid. When I put it together I remembered his dad was wearing the same winter jacket as last year. Since it was snowing so much and he still couldn't skate, he graciously busied himself by clearing the snow from the circumference of the rink.
And the game got started. We were all winded pretty quickly. I mean, hockey takes a different sort of lung-set. When we breaked for a sip from the flask, Drake mentioned the coincidence:
"It's the same kid" he said
"His dad told me that he didn't play hockey before he met us last year," he said.
"When they went home he asked his dad if he could play in a league team, and he's spent the year playing."
It's a pretty neat thing to think about. He had actually become a good little player since we'd last saw him. He even stiffed Alessandro at one point and then went on to score. I'm not even convinced that he "let the kid have it." I'm pretty sure Alessandro was completely winded and then kid out did him.
And all the while Alison was taking pictures. And without knowing it she captured this one:
The top picture was one I took last year and on the bottom, Alison managed to get the exact same moment this year.
But then you look at a picture like this and you realize, you aren't just born Canadian, you learn it.
We finished with meatball subs in my kitchen. Mike of course was the brain child behind the meal. On the basis that "they're hearty and after skating around an outdoor rink for a couple hours, you earn it."