The term 'living the dream' means a lot of different things in a lot of different circles. In the hockey world, it means different things at different stages of your career. When you're young, it means chasing that dream of making the N.H.L. Oh, that's the ultimate dream; and you live it until you realize it's over. Once it's over, 'Living the Dream' becomes the simple act of being able to continue playing at the highest level possible, whether that means playing the elite league at the local barn or playing the over 50 league on Wednesday night. And part of living that dream is making enough money to be able to afford to keep playing. Yeah, hockey is expensive. 'Living the Dream' continues on for the rest of your life, just being able to play the game you love with your brother's on ice.
'Living the Dream' also encompasses all the things you get to do as a hockey player and a fan. There are moments throughout your life where you get to experience things that not everyone in your shoes will get to experience. Sometimes, it might be getting to meet an idol, like Wayne Gretzky or Martin Brodeur. It could be the time you were in the building when your team won Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup. It could be that moment you walk into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and become overtaken with nostalgia. It could be that moment when your best friend, you know the one that dangles you silly, gets drafted to the Show. A lot of the time, it's getting to play with a former N.H.L. player. Everyone returns to their old barn. And most of us welcome them back home with trash talking and face washes. Unless you don't know the guy; then you sit in silence and think about what this dude meant to you, your life.
For me, that day was today.
John Blue was the first Californian Goaltender to make the N.H.L. He played 46 games in the Show. He showed what was possible for California players, and moreso, goalies. John was never my favorite goalie, but to me, he was an icon. He made me think I could get there to. He was the reason I started playing goalie on the ice.
I had been playing for awhile in the streets with my friends. I usually played goalie because I couldn't skate. Making the jump to ice was something I wanted to do. My friends talked me into playing ice. But I probably would've played out, just because it was so expensive for a goalie and I wasn't going anywhere. Then there was John Blue playing in the N.H.L. I wanted to play in the N.H.L. I couldn't skate. Maybe if I was a goalie, I could make my way to the N.H.L. just like John Blue.
So, I bought goalie gear for the ice.
And a few months later, I realized that there was no way anyone was going to make the N.H.L. by starting to learn the game at the age of 19. You never know until you get in there I guess. But I belong in the crease and I've been 'Living the Dream' ever since, stopping pucks and ticking off my friends.(well, some of the time)
Well, today I got to play with John Blue. He skated out at my regular Tuesday pick-up. Let me tell you, he skates out like he's been playing out his whole career. I decided not to bug him. I could've been, "Hey, you were an inspiration to me and led me to this life, let's take a photo", but he was in the locker room with his boys and I didn't want to intrude on that. Hockey Dogma there boys.
Any ways, I played really good today. I tend to do that when a better goalie is on the ice, even when he's not in the other crease. So, I'm in my after play hockey focus trance and as John is leaving, he walks over and whispers, "Hey, good game today".
And that, my friends, is Living the Dream.
(He also scored on me, under the bar, in tight, where he used to be on the other end.)
Wolf and Crown
Stories of Legendary Characters.