This piece was written just as the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy were closing. Whenever a major milestone-type event occurs, I tend to reflect on the meaning of life. I guess I'm trying to figure out what it all means, and where we fit. Either that or I'm looking for an excuse to avoid real work.
Either way, while I was waxing poetic over alignment of the planets, I noticed some neighborhood kids (though, here in Canada, we add the "u" in a nod to our British roots) playing street hockey. A column was born.
Future Olympians start in the 'hoodYour turn: What's your story of sports excellence? What drove you to excel? (Note: you need not be an Olympian to respond. I'm sure your childhood t-ball experience would be just as poetic.)
Published Tuesday, February 28, 2006
The London Free Press
I watched some kids from my neighbourhood spend an entire Sunday afternoon playing street hockey.
Truth be told, they really weren't very good at it. They spent more time missing passes and fishing their ratty tennis ball out from underneath parked cars than actually playing.
But when the clouds rolled in and the snow started to fly, they stayed outside, missing passes and crawling under dirty cars.
Every once in a while, a grown-up would drive up, park the car, and hurry into a nearby home to escape the chill. These kids in their mismatched hooded sweaters and tuques kept playing, oblivious to the weather.
I watched this spectacle at almost the exact moment Canadian athletes were finishing up our country's best Olympic performance in history. They walked into the stadium in Turin as champions, yet each one of them had to start somewhere. I'm certain each one of them carried a memory of a childhood playground.
I wonder if I perhaps witnessed a future Olympian on that snowy afternoon.