“day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone.”
OK, based on the high standard being held by Amusing the Amazing, I’ve decided to step my game up and add some more thought to this. This song doesn’t so much remind me of someone, but more of a group of people sharing a kick-ass situation, time and place.
For just under a year, I got to live with Paul, one of my oldest and closest friends. For about ten years, he’s been by partner in crime, comrade in arms, drinking buddy and bad influence. Hopefully I’ve been the same over that time. After the summer, our friend Josh moved into the same townhouse. Being the fitness nut he was, he was out running one night while Paul and I drank beers and watched the start of the 2008-09 NHL season, as we tend to do. We’re all big hockey fans, the three of us, so it was a good night, and one that got even better.
Josh comes in the door, sees us lounging and drinking, taking in a game. “Hey,” he interrupts the boring game. “I found a hockey rink.”
“What?” Sometimes Josh doesn’t paint the full picture, so were dubious as to what the hell he was talking about.
“There’s a street hockey rink a few miles from here. It’s lit up, has boards, fences, goals, a slick surface, and a bunch of guys were playing on it.”
That was all we needed to know. I had played lots of street hockey as a kid, and still had some of my gear, including old recreational skates. Paul and Josh didn’t, but we piled into his truck anyhow that moment and hauled ass up to Play it Again Sports, and spent several hundred bucks between us on getting our gear in order. Thus began the Year of Hockey, where every single Friday night, most Sunday nights, and even a few weekday and Saturday nights as well were spent up at the rink. Our numbers swelled with friends and family that we roped into it, and before long, we had a veritable army of hockey players up there. Full-deck games took place for hours every night, skating to exhaustion and injury, finding our peace and entertainment through fatigue.
It wasn’t without risk, though… I went to the hospital once for my ankle, poor Josh was wrecked with regularity, and everyone sustained their bumps, bruises, personality conflicts and broken sticks. But for my money, and for those close to us, it was the best way to spend our time. A few hours spent working up a sweat at the rink, followed by a few hours of stinking up the local bar. It can’t be beat. This continued well into the following spring, and eventually tapered off due to moving, finding other pursuits, expenses and other reasons. But for awhile, I spent every week looking forward to my Friday game, netting a few pucks, chasing down Josh, trading cross-checks with Paul, getting puck-stripped by Erik or working on skating and shooting with Dave.
You can’t understand what it’s like unless you’re willing to spend your limited free time with people just as crazy as you are, willing to go skate to exhaustion in single-digits with balaclavas pulled under helmets, or facing heatstroke and sunburn just to take advantage of a long day off.
And that is what the below song reminds me of. I discovered it while living in Hockey House, and thought it was a perfect microcosm of what we do: get together with friends, talk shit, play hard, get pissed at each other, drink and forget about it. It kept us happy, it kept us in shape, and it was rewarding as hell. Now I live too far away from the old rink to make it out there frequently, but I’m still hoping to make it there for any big holiday games with the old crew.
But no matter what, the memories are there. They aren’t going anywhere, and I remember those games fondly.
(Here’s a relatively sub-par but acceptable English translation. A big fuck-you to UMG for pulling the subtitled video.)