I want to start by saying:I miss playing competitive hockey. From when I was 6 years old and having trouble falling asleep on a Saturday night before the big house-league game at 6 am Sunday. Watching HNIC drove my pops crazy! "How can you watch that crap! The Sabres aren't playing!", but then catching him sneeking peeks at the TV the whole time. Then to watch my pops evolve from grumpy old man at 4:30 am to excited pops at 6:00 am, made me realize what this game is truly all about: Having fun playing the greatest game on earth!
Getting my first league championship trophy as a first-year pee wee was a trip. Then playing half the next season in house, and the other half with travel was great. Sitting in the locker room after a Saturday afternoon house league game, and having the coach of the travel team pop his head into the locker room and ask if I wanted to play. Exciting! Happy! Jovial! Playing in my first ever "States" that same year... Unbelievable!
Winning the NYS High School Club Champioinship in 1990 as a Junior: Awesome! Playing Super Sundays at the Memorial Auditorium two years in a row: Spectacular!
All of those are great memories I will have for the rest of my life, and hope to share with my children. Maybe I'll even help them along their way (of course I will, who am I kidding). The thing I will never want them to lose site of is the fun of playing this game.
I watch today's game, and I have to stretch to find a few "kids" who actually enjoy it for what it is: A Game! $8 million a year? To play hockey? Hell yeah! Where do I sign up? But, in all reality, this is just an absurd amount of money that clouds the minds of these superstars. Players used to have one goal and one goal only: Sip from the Holy Grail! Now it seems to be "get my money first, and if a cup comes along the way, bonus for me"!
I would love nothing more than for the team I follow and back, the Buffalo Sabres, to win a cup in my lifetime. But, you know what, if this team tries as hard as they can, and still comes up short, as long as they had fun doing it, I'm alright with it.