Play on…

Kids in the “Dangler” division

Two smacks to the head, a punch in his side and a hit from behind dropping him to his knees… but who’s counting.

Spiderman and six of his teammates were part of the Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On road hockey tournament at The Halifax Commons this weekend. Forty eight rinks filled with 3,300 participants aged four to sixty… enjoying the fun and camaraderie of Canada’s favourite past-time… without the ice.

It was chippy. To be honest… two of the four games were exactly as they should be… fun competition filled with laughter, smiles and patted backs! The other two… not so much. In fact, in the quarter finals, the game ended with a player on the other team taunting Spiderman for a fight. Dropping his gloves… name calling… slashing his stick across his legs… begging my son to hit him so he could get his revenge for…. ummmmm….. winning?

My mom-knees were completely weak and my heart was in my throat anticipating a show down and not entirely sure how to stop it… remembering how just last week in Boston, a mom stepped onto the ice to stop a brawl… her purse still on her shoulder.

At least I’d drop my purse!

Part of me was proud that my kid stood up for himself. The other part was terrified that this is the world he’s heading into… where a game of hockey could turn into someone wanting to “teach him a lesson!”

Both teams walked away… heated… angry.

My heart hasn’t completely recovered.

It was two full days of excitement in a carnival setting complete with cotton candy and chip trucks.  Me… on my low carb, low calorie health kick… admiring the colourful trucks and wondering where in the heck I’d possibly find a half cup of Greek yogurt and a dozen almonds as I handed over bill after bill to Bones and Spiderman… neither having difficulty finding tasty treats.

We mapped out our day with visits to several “rinks” as Crazy, Prada, Gib and CA all had players in the tournament. All of us, proud as peacocks as Gib’s daughter donned a goalie helmet and for the very first time picked up a stick to block shot after shot… with a tremendous smile on her sweet little face. We took time to tailgate and enjoy one another’s company… running into just about everyone we knew with happy “hellos” on the glorious sun-filled day… so much more pleasant than last year’s pounding rain! We watched each game as kids celebrated their wins and shook off their losses, enjoyed the fast paced speed of the “elite” divisions and watched in awe as more than 50 bicyclists drove by… totally naked… making me finally understand the meaning behind the “Dangler” division.

All in all… the Play On street tournament makes for a wonderful family-fun weekend. We’ve had the pleasure of taking part for the last three years… put on by hundreds of volunteers with thousands of people in attendance… well organized and incredibly enjoyable with the exception that every now and then you get a player… or a parent… who takes things a little too far.

Making you wonder if maybe… just maybe… you could convince your kid to put down the stick and start a new sport… like… I don’t know… bike riding?

I have to admit… he seemed pretty thrilled as they drove on by!

One Reply to “Play on…”

  1. I hate that part of sports, the part that turns a fun game into a fight.

    (btw, I am living in Halifax, NS now!)