For those of you that know me well, you know I’m not one for watching sports. Not the stereotypical male, I suppose. As a spectator I find my attention drifts. However, in my youth I enjoyed playing a number of sports – soccer, basketball, baseball, football, and even hockey. I grew up on the East Coast so ice hockey was much more common. Also, after graduating college, I lived in Breckenridge, CO, where my love for hockey really developed and I played on an actual pond. For me the joy of sports is always in the play, the competition, and the camaraderie. I have to be in the game.
This time of year always brings back my longing to play hockey again. I can almost smell the ice rink and feel the itch to play. But, during my time on the ice, I endured two knee injuries which required surgeries, one at 27 and the other at 38. The last time I played was the night I blew out my left knee. My first shift out, the puck went close to the opposite blue line and I chased it down with one opponent on my heels. I was going as fast as I could and stopped sideways into the boards. Unfortunately my opponent made his best effort to keep up, but didn’t know how to stop as quick as I could. He plowed into me forcing my knee to buckle. I knew instantly that my days of playing hockey were over. Both my ACL and MCL had to be replaced and it was time to donate all my gear. I do dream to get in the game again. There is a league here in Santa Barbara for older guys like me. But it’s not worth the risk of going though that long recovery again. So instead I force myself to be the spectator and remind myself that sports can still be enjoyable watching from the sidelines.