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I went to my first NHL hockey game the other night.  I was handed tickets for the game at an intersection and I was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I am not a hockey fan. In fact, just before I was handed the free tickets, the giver asked if I was a fan of hockey and I said no.  I was partially throwing up my defences against the potential for unsolicited preaching, but I was also telling the truth.  Despite my initial protestations, I could not turn down four otherwise very expensive tickets.  I took the tickets and we head out the next night.

Before that night, nothing about hockey even vaguely interested me. Except for a brief, thrilling experience watching the Canadian women's team win the Olympic gold on t.v. once, I usually let the daily reports about who won what and where roll right over me.

As we entered the arena, all those bored feelings vaporized. The atmosphere was charged. The cheerleaders shone and the music pumped throughout the arena.  I was instantly thrilled that I had decided to take the tickets.

Within minutes of the game starting, the home team scored and the whole place roared. I realized that I actually knew a lot more about hockey than I ever had admitted to myself and I became riveted. I was drawn in and noticed new things about the game.  It is fun to watch. It is unifying. It is overcommercialized to be sure, but oh what a show! The home team was winning, people were getting t-shirts flung at them, there was a kissing cam.

I realized that the reason I had been so opposed to hockey before was that I really had only ever watched the game on t.v. Without the nullifying effect of the t.v. between me and the action, I understood it more keenly, my senses were attuned, charged with whatever energy was running through that big room.

This past week I had some time on my hands to be on my own with the kids.  Without homework and all the usual routines, I had some more time than usual to notice some things. I more deeply observed what they do when they get anxious, I had a new vantage point on what they do to calm themselves down. I came to know what current music they respond to most quickly and I learned about what they think about sweet potato sushi and beaver dams.

This week I saw hockey and my kids in a new light.
No t.v. screen separated me from the hockey game. No distracting work emails came between me and the kids.

Live hockey is really very fun to watch.
Kids out of school for a week are a whole other thing.