Monday, February 13, 2012

Hockey Day

February 19th is Hockey Day and with everything that is going in the world of sports, it is finally nice to sit back and not read another story about Jeremy Lin.

Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than being able to sleep in on Sunday and awake to the voice of Mike Emrick on NBC commentating on a game.

The game of hockey is something that is special, and is so much more than a sport: it's a lifestyle. It's a lifestyle that includes the pains of waking up at 5 AM and having to shovel a foot of snow off your car that will barely start so you can make it to a morning practice.

It's a lifestyle that includes the pains of missing a night out at the bar with your girl because you have to drive across the state to make a 10 PM conference game.

But would we ever change it? Absolutely not. Because the benefits of playing this beautiful game are endless.

The locker room stories, the dangles, the Gino's, the roadies, sauce, flow, flop... it all combines to make something that makes every player feel something that is so much bigger than themselves.

Hockey teams aren't teams, they're families. You will never find a closer group of guys than those who lace them up together every night. Whether it's a men's league team, a junior team, a college team, or a pro team, the bond that is formed by this game is something that can never be duplicated.

So whether you're 80 years old or 20 years old and have ever laced up the skates, this day is for you.

This is a quote that has been floating around the web for a while and may unfortunately have started as a quote about wrestling fans but nonetheless:

    The cockiest, dirtiest, most irresponsible group of athletes in the world. We'll do anything and come back to tell his teammates about it. Live the dream until they are 35 then realize they never made it. Ladies love us, guys want to be us, we are the soul of the universe.

    You lace up the skates, put on the gloves, strap on the helmet, and walk on to the ice and nothing else matters. It doesn't matter that you failed a test, your girl is giving you problems, or that you got a ticket on the way there...your world is absolutely perfect for the next couple hours.

    Here's to faceoffs, goals, assists, overtime, livin' on the road, cold rinks, early mornings, breakaways, goin' top shelf, countless hours of practice, bag skates, thousands of dollars, dangling d-men, big hits, broken twigs, new skates, packin' bombs, wheelin' broads, coaches, adding the letter "y" to the end of everyone's last name, pick up, fights, let downs, miracles and most of all—the game. Hockey.

    Why? Why do we skate back and forth night after night? Skating so hard we throw up. Skating so hard your heart beat rings in your head, while your lungs are grasping for air. Late nights, early mornings, Friday nights, Saturday evenings, broken bones, torn muscles and deep bruises. We skate through it all. Because we live off our adrenaline, because the game frees your spirit, because the party in the locker room is fine, because you're invincible once you step on the ice, because a shot can make you smile all night, sniping the twine, the rattling of the boards, the feel of the puck, and skates carving into the ice is a rhythm to live by, because its possible to skate fast enough to leave all your worries behind. Sweat is the cologne of our accomplishment. Why? Why would I push myself so hard? It's not for the money, it's not for the girls, and it's not for the fame. I do it because I love it."

So to everyone I've ever had the pleasure of lacing the skates up with... Cheers.

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