Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This Is The Weirdest Game

That's what my, then 12 year-old, step-son said back when he was first introduced to hockey.

In 1994, My husband and I had been married for two years and felt that our son, Sergio, should try and find a sport or activity that he liked other than watching tv or playing video games. He did like to skate on his roller blades, but we wanted him to join some kind of organized team or sport. Sergio had been born and raised in Mexico and had moved here to live with his dad when he was 9. His dad played soccer all his life and Sergio grew up around the sport. We thought naturally he would be interested in playing soccer. Not so. He had no interest whatsoever.
But, I was persistent and really pushed him to try something. We would look through the community parks and recreation "activity guide" for ideas. "Just try something, if you don't like it then at least you will know and you don't have to do it," I would tell him.
Wasn't interested.
I heard about baseball tryouts in our neighborhood and asked if he wanted to try that. He said he would, but when the time came to go to the tryouts, he said he changed his mind and didn't want to go. Sigh.
One day, he was flipping through the channels on the tv and began watching a hockey game. Not just any hockey game (I would realize in later years) but the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings.
I was in the other room when he called me, "Susan! Come out here quick! What is that?" he said pointing to the television. I stared at the tv and tried to figure out what was going on. Apparently, someone had thrown a squid on the ice? WTH?
"I have no idea." I said.
As they showed the crew cleaning the octopus off the ice the announcers explained about the tradition of Red Wing fans and how it symbolized the 8 games needed to win the Stanley Cup. "Did you understand that?" I asked him.
With a half-puzzled, half-disgusted look on his face, he nodded that he did not. I explained what the announcers had said about the 8 wins and how the Octopus had 8 legs and he sort of nodded in agreement like he understood.
With his eyes riveted to the screen he said, "This is the weirdest game."
We watched the rest of the series and witnessed the Sharks in their very first playoff run. We would also watch one after that in which the Sharks would lose. He was hooked, and I think that was when I became a fan as well.
It wasn't long after that, that Sergio asked to take hockey lessons and not much longer after that that he began playing over at Vallco in their youth house league. Sixteen years later and he is still playing. He currently plays in a men's league at Sharks Ice. We go see him play every once in a while and it always brings back good memories of watching him play as a kid.
I am so thankful he found the sport and brought the Sharks into our lives.

Go Sharks!