I came by it honestly... being the hockey fan I am. My dad was a big “Hockey Night in Canada” supporter; sitting comfortably with a container of yogurt and a big spoon, he’d settle in for the night. The Oilers were the team to beat in those days. I spent many hours talking hockey with my dad and analyzing the game until I had to head to bed. Since my bedroom was just off of the living room, I’d be lulled to sleep with the rise and fall of the broadcaster’s voice.
The Saturday night tradition soon turned into a father/ daughter team at the rink many Friday nights or Saturdays. Although my dad didn’t have the chance to grow up playing hockey, he joined the senior team in our home town. He also did a significant amount of officiating each winter; sometimes upwards of sixty games. I thoroughly enjoyed going to watch hockey so it was easy to move into manning the penalty box/time keeping. We had a good thing going. Since I knew my dad and he knew me, we were able to communicate well and could work efficiently together as officials. About the time I was in my mid-teens, our family became friends with one of the Moose Jaw Warriors’ forwards and his family. We spent many hours in the Crushed Can, the land now home to a brand new mall. The late 80’s, early 90’s boasted some strong WHL hockey and I enjoyed keeping scrapbooks and stats, listening to Bryn Griffiths and Rob Carney as they kept us connected through the radio waves. I even recorded games on cassettes on my ghetto blaster! I was known around my school as being a huge Warrior fan. Marriage to a non-sports fan and motherhood took me away from the sports scene; I became involved in doing what was of interest to Hubby and our sweet peas. However, recently I’ve had opportunity to see a few games in person and periodically listen to the radio to stay up to date with how the boys are doing. Thankfully, Big Sweet Pea has developed a love of the game, too so we catch a few games together from time to time.
I like the game for many reasons; in fact, in the past, I would’ve said that I loved the game for many reasons. But truly, we are to only love God and love people (ourselves included). “...’you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27) It is interesting how many times “love” has become a part of our everyday language... I love coffee. I love summer. I love hockey. I love... (fill in the blanks). We’ve cheapened love and use the term loosely without giving it any thought. Love is not a term to be thrown around lightly. Love is an act of one’s will, a choice if you will, to love without conditions... to love without expectations... to selflessly love (not selfishly love)... to love when our child, spouse, neighbor or stranger is unlovely towards us or others. No matter how much we greatly admire or value something, nothing should be more valuable to us than God or people. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) Besides giving me an appreciation for hockey, Dad also taught me the importance of loving God and people. Watch your words and share the love. Let love be your motivation this week.