A Valentine’s Day Letter One Week Late

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Yeah, so about this article…It’s not a Shakespearean overflow of unexpressed romantic love I can no longer contain. But stay with me here, because it is about love—a different kind of love that applies to all writers.

Last Thursday, February 16th, Sidney Crosby became the 11th youngest player to reach 1,000 total points, joining the likes of NHL greats like Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux. In plainer terms for non-hockey fans, Crosby is no scrub; he can play.

Crosby entered the league as an 18-year-old in 2005. By the ’06-’07 season, he led the usually bumbling Penguins back into the playoffs. As a ten-year-old, I began to take notice. At that time, I competed in baseball and basketball, but watching Crosby slash past defenders and snap pucks past goalies put me in a hockey trance.

Immediately, I asked my mom to take me to the local Dunham’s Sporting Goods Store to buy a hockey stick and puck. Ice hockey was out of the question for me because of the high cost and lack of close facilities, but that wasn’t a problem. In my cramped driveway, I used chalk to mark out a net on the stone wall that ran adjacent to my family’s garage.

With my wooden KOHO brand stick, I would stickhandle past imaginary defenders and fling Stanley Cup-winning shots just in time for dinner. In a sense, Sidney Crosby was an unintended hockey televangelist for me, his highlight reels becoming the matchmaker between me and the game of hockey. He introduced me to the intricacies of the game, and from then on, I fell in love with hockey, as so many others have.

Eventually, I graduated to playing dek hockey (basically an outside rink that has a plastic surface instead of ice) in high school with friends, experiencing the game’s ability to strengthen friendships and deepen fond memories.

Rather than blather on about the cliche stuff that every athlete spouts off about his respective sport, I want to explain how I view the game of hockey in terms of its relation to writing.

To me, watching an NHL game is like reading a thrilling book. In a single game, you’ve got heroes, villains, tragedies, and redemptions. Each game contributes to the overall plot of the season. Players and teams make costly mistakes, epic comebacks, and accomplish new achievements. There are storylines and angles that sprout nearly every game, and conflict never fails to stir the waters.

Playing the game itself is like a flesh-and-blood novel, a physical page-turner, even if it’s only in a local dek hockey tournament or pickup game. I’ve played together with my friends for almost four years now, and I know each of their tendencies and styles of play. Together, we’ve created moments and memories, whether it was one of us stickhandling through the defense and blowing a shot past the goalie or another one of us blocking a shot with his groin in an unfortunate series of events (most of us, including me, have suffered that particular instance, and it was not intentional, trust me).

I’ve got personalities and stories that are material for future stories, and it all began because Sidney Crosby, with his artistry on the television a few nights a week, introduced me to the love of hockey. My experiences are nothing special, but they are stories, and I’m sure you all have some of your own, no matter the topic. Sometimes, mining your own life experiences, no matter how insignificant, can be nourishment for future projects.

Author’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing series of articles that will chart the progress I’m making on writing a short story. The story will be part of a larger Geneva College project in which students from Dr. Williams’s ENG 344 Publishing compile their short stories into a published collection for the campus. Check us out on Facebook under “Geneva Inklings.”

Kevin Cochrane is a writer and college student. Like what you read? Follow him on Twitter @RunFree_KC, find him on Facebook, or click the follow button at the bottom of the page to get Town Crier’s latest updates. Want to read more? Visit his blog at restandrefuge.wordpress.com which offers a Christian perspective on the surrounding culture. You can contact him with comments or questions at kevincochrane316@yahoo.com.


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