It Ain't Easy Eating Green


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Hockey Hell

Image hosting by Photobucket

I just made a comment on someone's blog that made me recollect a childhood memory I think I had been trying to suppress: the time I spent enrolled in competitive sport.

I forget how old I was then. Maybe nine or ten. My Dad, like most Dads, wanted me to keep up with all the other boys my age. In this part of New York, that meant signing me up for minor league hockey in order to hone my mental and physical toughness. He believed I was destined for great things. I didn't doubt that then just as I don't doubt it now; but I believe barbaric sports are not a necessary part of a boy's development. Similarly, playing in Fisher-Price kitchens should not be a stepping stone for young girls. This sort of gender indoctrination is absurd. I believe that children, whether they be boys or girls, should be presented with traditionally male and traditionally female toys and allowed to choose. If Timmy wants to drive Barbie to the beach in her convertible, let him. If Cindy wants to have Skeletore gut He-Man, that should be totally up to her.

But I'm getting off topic. Sorry, I have a tendency to rant.

Anyway, I was presented with hundreds of dollars worth of hockey equipment one Christmas and told that I'd be starting hockey in a week. The season had already begun, but I was allowed to join one of the teams. We were sponsored by Burger King, I think. I knew how to skate (sort of), but from hearing the other boys' enthusiastic conversations about hockey at school, I knew I was never going to be able to keep up. So in a way, I was resigned to failure before I even started playing.

After my parents showed me how to put on the equipment and had taken me to a nearby frozen lake to learn to skate with it, the real hockey began and I joined up with the team.

I'm kind of embarrassed when I think back on those days. After we'd finish practice or exhibition games, we'd all walk to the dressing rooms in our skates, along the rubber mats that lined the arena's hallways. The rest of the kids would tear off their equipment and talk about NHL players and stuff. They'd be red-faced and sweaty. I was bone dry, from lack of hussle. And instead of changing with the rest of the team, I'd lock myself in the small dressing room bathroom. I took a lot of shit from the other players for that. They joked that I "didn't want them to see my vagina." For the most part, everyone just ignored me, though.

At first Dad would watch eagerly in the stands when our team played, drinking coffee with the other parents, shouting to the kids along with them.


Atta boy! Atta boy!

Ice it! ICE IT!!

Oh, NICE call, Ref! Ever heard of off-side?!

Dad yelled to me a lot. I didn't know what the hell he was saying from the ice, though, and would catch more shit if I stopped to try and listen.

For Christ's sake, keep your eye on the puck, Preston!

It was awful.

The car ride home was always a lecture about "keeping up" and "showing initiative" on the ice. After a while I figured out that Dad would usually stop yelling when I started to cry. It's no surprise that around this time, Mom started driving me to games and practice. I guess Dad was pretty disgusted with my behaviour, on and off the ice. Mom was nicer about it. She said that I didn't have to keep playing hockey if I didn't want to, but that I would have to finish the season, at least. And it was a long haul. But I did it, and from then on, I became a lot more independent, doing only the things I wanted to do.



At 7:06 AM, Blogger sidcruise said...

WOW... Even I am Vegan..your posts are great..
get Prius leave the BMWs alone ..i dont think 'Dough' is not an issue here

Also I love trees I was planning to plant a tree everyday and I feel every lane should have trees on their looks so great..So keep your Green drive going may change many of them

At 2:35 PM, Blogger mark said...

Yeah, growing up is replete with sucky moments that hover on the perifery of your awareness always. I'm had many similar experience to you and find it hard to deal with fitting into the world in any expected way. On the surface I look to be fairly successful -- a busy classical musician, a gay man in New York City somehow finding his way. In any case, Preston, I admire how you present yourself. Your certainties and uncertainties side by side make for a well-fleshed out sense of you. Anyway, I'm a vegetarian (5 yrs) moving slowly into a vegan transition ( and I'm in Copenhagen at the moment, where it's not all that easy). I believe in the priciples involved strongly. I applaud you for your openness, for your courage, and your principles. I'd say you're one cool dude. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Preston said...

Sidcruise - You're absolutely right about the BMWs. The Germans have known how to make pretty cars for a long time, but they're horrible for the environment.

Mark - Wow, thanks for the reply. Hearing responses like that reminds me that we vegans and vegetarians are really a tightly knit community.

Hope you both stop by again soon!

At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you change into your uniform inside the stall, because you were self-conscious of your circumcision? I think you did. It's all coming together now.

It's okay, you can tell me. I'm vegan too. That means I'm compassionate with a capital "C"!

Mr. Carrot


Post a Comment

<< Home