I stepped into the rink last night, running immediately into one of my favourite hockey Dad’s from last years’ season…asking if Spiderman had made the High School team and chatting about his son playing Major Bantam this year. We parted ways as we realized the game was about to begin…there were announcements about 50/50 tickets and sponsor thank-you’s, then all stood for the singing of our National Anthem…the chill of the arena catching me off guard which really shouldn’t be a surprise after all these years except that…well, we were at Neptune Theatre…there to see the play Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad.
Written by Nova Scotia playwright Mike Melski and performed by Kevin Kincaid as Teddy; Heather Rankin as Donna, the two-man show took place among the bleachers at a couple of PeeWee games and practices.
I’ll be 100% honest, it took me a few minutes to get into the play for personal reasons. Rankin’s voice and opening lines explaining that she didn’t understand the “holding” penalties…that there should be more holding and hugging in hockey as kids are just kids…brought me back to a time, not so long ago, when I’d sit by her sister in the rink and watch our children play the game…Raylene, commenting that she wished they didn’t keep calling the “offside” penalties…”they’re just kids…let them play.” Her voice, so much like her sisters…
It made me smile.
Hockey…that rink…the people you spend your time with year after year…become part of who you are. Never would I have imagined when my son was four years old, that a game would become such a big part of my life.
But it’s not just the game. It’s the relationships. The arguments. The camaraderie. It’s the support and encouragement. The politics. The loud mouths who get on your nerves and the quiet ones who find their voice. It’s bottle drives and grocery bagging. It’s raising our children together, supporting one another, commiserating over the chill of the rink at the most ridiculous hours in the morning…finding new friends who reach into their purse for that small bottle of Baileys…ordering pizza for the crowd of boys who often find their way into your home…sharing a few laughs in a hotel room during a weekend tournament away.
Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad covered all the bases. From one line to the next I laughed as I lived a great number of hockey moments over again. My life, sitting on that blanket with a coffee cup in hand…was played out on the stage.
Well…except for the part where the hockey mom falls in love with the hockey dad…but who knows, I’ve a few years left in that rink and if I’ve learned anything about this game it’s this…it’s not over when that final buzzer sounds.
While the play explored the romance between two lonely parents, it also dealt with the tough topic of fighting and violence. A topic near to my heart as I’ve battled with the concept. How and when and where to teach our boys to “use their body” while we’re trying to teach them respect. That it’s only a game.
Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad is playing at Neptune until October 27th. I laughed from one moment to the next, felt like I was in the rink with the amazing set, swore they lowered the temperature in the studio so my toes would be cold and I’d feel more at home, and walked away with a smile on my face and the realization that it may just be possible…to find love in the stands.