About a year ago while walking by the ice rink in Arlington, Texas, I stopped to watch some guys playing beer league hockey. I sometimes do this on my way to the movieplex which overlooks the indoor rink. Whenever I stop to watch, I always have a pang of envy and regret. Envy that these men were enjoying the thrill of the ice and competition. Regret that I had lost the heritage of hockey participation that flows through my Canadian veins.
Often I'd wander down to rink-level and read the flyers for league signups, "players wanted" and rule sheets. Each time I'd glance at the postings, I'd quickly dismiss whatever fleeting thoughts I had with excuses; Too expensive. I don't have the time. I was never good enough to play.
"Still I would stop to watch. Still the envy and regret."
Two years ago, my fleeting thoughts led me to take my two girls- who were both taking figure skating lessons at the time- to a public skate where my worst fears were confirmed. After two laps around the ice on a pair of rental skates I was in agony from foot pain and my ankles felt like wet noodles. I quickly fled the ice, took off my skates and admitted to myself that whatever I had been thinking was wrong and hockey was a chapter of my life that closed twenty odd years ago.
Still I would stop to watch. Still the envy and regret. I found my self lingering and silently evaluating the players on the ice.
Was it really too late? Weren't those rental skates designed to inflict pain and suffering? Had I really drifted into the age where I started marking off things that I would never again do in my life?