When I was a kid I loved watching hockey.
We were a 3 channel family. 3, 5, and 13. Channel 5 had Hockey Night in Canada. I used to look forward to that beautiful production every time I knew I would be home for it. In fact, I distinctly remember a time when our youth group was going to a Monster Track Rally at The Coliseum, and I decided not to go because the Canucks were playing the Red Wings that night. I didn’t like either of those teams, but I thought that it would be a good matchup.
I went to my first Oilers game back when school groups could go together. We sat way up high and had a blast!
Later on, my awesome dad bought me Oilers-Blues tickets for my birthday. Front Row! $60 a piece. We had a great time and I got a lot of great photos of my favourite Brett at the time.
When I was a kid I loved playing hockey.
My family established it early that we couldn’t afford the financial or time commitment for me to play minor hockey. I didn’t let that phase me. I played shinny hockey at Forest Green school in Stony Plain almost any time I could. I remember playing til it got dark, and then wandering home by the dim glow of the street lights.
I lost so many pucks in that forest.
I played street hockey every day when I was a kid. My brother would tire of it, but I would keep on playing. I even took shots on myself. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, then don’t worry about it. I was a weird, little, hockey-obsessed kid.
These days, I have 2 kids of my own. One of them loves hockey, but also loves reading, and drawing, and being a goofball. The other one is definitely a raging hockey fanatic, just like his old man. Mini sticks a plenty! He’s always wanting to know the score of any game that is happening. He’s always asking if there is any hockey on that he could watch. Always thinking. Always picturing. Always dreaming.
Both of my kids grew up in the Oilers’ Decade of Darkness. They both don’t mind the Oilers, but they are permanently hopeless causes from being Oiler fans. Katz, Lowe and the gang sure are setting the stage for a memorable legacy.
One of my boys likes Crosby and the Pens and the other one is a Taylor Hall fan. Now he likes the Devils, too. You see, that’s how it works with kids. I’m proud of him for jumping ship and sticking with Hall. Takes guts.
So my kids don’t like the Oilers. I used to try to persuade them to cheer for the Oil, and sometimes they do as if they’re doing me some sort of favour. But now I’m proud of them for picking their own teams and I hope that they stick with it.
The Oilers didn’t help their cause by being one of the worst run organization is sports for the last decade. My kids did the logical thing and, when looking for entertaining hockey, simply looked elsewhere. There’s got to be many other Northern Alberta kids who feel the same way, and good for them.
As an Oiler fan, I am often reminded of this lyric in Hotel California.
You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!
I’ll always cheer for the Oilers. For some of us older folks, it’s our burden to carry. My advice is to encourage your own kids to cheer for some other team. Get them a Stamkos jersey, or tell them how good the Devils are going to be in a few years. After all that, if they insist on being an Oiler fan, then pat them on the back and welcome them to the club for me. We’re all in this mess together.
Here are some favourites of this past year. Perhaps a little glimpse into me and my year. I look back on things and I don’t feel so bad about any of it.
Album • David Bazan’s Care.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, this album has really been my staple. It’s chicken and rice and bacon and eggs to me. There is a lot of honesty in the poetic lyrics of this one. Bazan’s solo stuff has really resonated with me, and this one is at the top of the list.
Movie • Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!
I saw this movie twice in theatre… by myself. It’s such a visually stunning and shocking thing to take in. There is so much confusion and chaos. I can’t really pinpoint why it’s my fav except to say that it had my full attention both times I watched it.
Wrote about this a few months ago…
I found myself settling down to Dave Bazan’s album Care. It’s a nice album. It’s actually my fav of 2017, just so you know.
It got me thinking.
Sometimes, most of the time, it’s really hard to care.
He has a line in there that goes “all of us need major healing” and I’ll raise my hand and say that, yes, this applies to me.
I felt myself within a season of a lack of care. I had just finished another summer at camp and my heart felt pretty empty by that time. I decided to get away from everything for a bit. I searched the internet and gathered advice from coworkers, and found a spot deep in the mountains that seemed to be just what I was looking for.
I was 12 or 13 years old when I had heard Buddy Holly on the radio. Not the singer but the song. Power 92, with Rob Christie and Audie Lynds probably played it every morning around the time when that song came out, which is standard practice for Pop stations. Play it until it dies.
I had a girlfriend at the time, and we were getting into that sort of Christmas spirit thing that young “couples” get into by giving each other significant presents. It was a big deal. I think that this was the year that I had given her a little chain bracelet with my name and a heart engraved on it. I was a big fan of The Wonder Years and was sure that’s what Kevin Arnold would have given Winnie Cooper. In return, my girlfriend gave me Weezer’s Blue Album.
Another gear, another speed.
Stuck in rewind, stuck on repeat.
I’ve been losing my mind,
so many times.
I must have lost it, down in the mine.
I had a thought about the classic song by Harry Chapin. For a refresher, YouTube it and remind yourself of what a punch in the gut it is. It’s a beautiful song that can inflict a surprisingly a large amount of pain.
It all started, as many things often do, with a misunderstanding.
Evergreen School. 8:38am. Sunny day.
Jimmy sat down in his seat, far row, second from the back, like he always did. Mary was sitting in front of him, and she was very tall for her age. Thus, Jimmy did what he always did and leaned around her so that he could see the front of the room.
“Good morning, class. My name is Miss. Understanding. Mr. Zister is sick today with a terrible cough, so I was called in to take his place here today. I told Mr. Zister that a nice air mister would help clear up that cough. Anyway, I’ll be your teacher today.”
The past weekend I was able to sneak in two 5 mile runs within the city of Edmonton. Edmonton is my favourite place in the world. Running downtown and across the river in Old Strathcona is a super fun experience. This past weekend I also ran on an edge of the city, and found myself with two very different episodes.
It also started a few blocks south of Whyte Avenue at our friend’s house. I laced up the ol’ New Balance shoes and headed out. I stuck to some side roads that zigzagged just west of 109th. There was where I found the students, hustling here and there, most not for a night out, but for a night in of studying and book hitting. Their books draped over their backs, and some sort of athletic shoe on their feet, these people seemed utilitarian in their purpose. No parties (saw an advertisement for a “Toga Party”), just some solid state studying.
First of all, I want to say that this movie is not for everyone. Most people, in fact. If you are not familiar with Darren Aronofsky films, then you should know that they are very different. Very visual, very abstract, and very shocking.
Okay, so as with his film Noah, I went to see Aronofsky’s Mother! by myself. If you haven’t gone to a movie solo you are missing out on a very special, personal, and focused experience. Nothing to do but pay attention and seap into it. Lovely.
Last night I had a plan.
I had heard through a bird that the Northern Lights were going to be shining nice. My plan was to go out and take some pictures of them.
My house is surrounded by trees to the north, so my plan included hopping in the car and driving out to the edge of one of the many farmer’s fields we have in the neighbourhood.
Maybe I didn’t tell you this yet, but I am not a big fan of being alone in the dark. Last night was me being brave. I drove up the road and parked in a turn off just next to an open field. The silence of the night was hard to handle. So quiet it was noisy, you know?
And there they were; Northern Lights were twisting and snapping away. Yet Mr. Moon had something to say, as well. The Full Moon was shining so bright it was stealing some of the show. I could see deep into the field, cattle lying around, snuffing and puffing quietly. A pond and some reeds exhaling and taking a knee after such an unseasonably warm day. I could see some things, and this knowledge seemed to ease my fears.
I propped up my Canon and got things going. Turned out to have a few pretty fun shots. 20 minutes and I was out of there. No coyote gonna to tear me apart, at least not on this night.
I’ve lived in the country for 5 years now. It takes some getting used to, but moments like the one I enjoyed last night confirm that there is so much to experience. So much out there.