Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Life Should Be More Like Hockey

by Susan McBride

I’ve been going to hockey games ever since my first date with Ed, which was five years ago this November. I used to think of the sport the same way Carla Moss does in The Cougar Club:

“You’re equating hockey with fun?” Carla looked at Kat like she’d lost her mind. “Watching a bunch of overgrown boys pummel each other with sticks? Do any of them still have their own teeth? How does that saying go, ‘I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out’?”

Since Ed has season tickets to the St. Louis Blues games and since he plays in a local league, I’ve seen more hockey than I ever thought I'd experience in a lifetime. I still don’t understand all the rules completely, but I do get why so many love the sport. And the better I grasp the finesse involved, the more I think the world would be a saner place if it borrowed a few rules from ice hockey. I know, I know, that sounds bizarre, but stick with me. Listen to my suggestions, and I think you’ll see the logic, too.

First off, dealing with other human beings can be tough as not everyone’s on the up and up. Life is a giant playground where bullies thrive on ruining everyone else’s fun and plenty of folks try to skirt the rules. The older I get, the more I'm convinced that most adults aren't grown-ups any more than Alexander Ovechkin is a choir boy (he plays for the Washington Capitals and got a two game suspension for smashing a Chicago Blackhawk against the boards, breaking the dude's rib and his collar bone). Two politicians from opposing parties can’t stand within spitting distance without name-calling these days. I’ve watched parents fight over hard to come by Christmas gifts in Target. I've seen grown women cry after board meetings where finger pointing has replaced honest debate.

At least hockey players are outfitted for the rough stuff, unlike the rest of us who don’t suit up before we leave the safety of our homes to interact with society. We'd be smart to put on pads and helmets before we get in our cars and deal with idiots on cell-phones behind the wheel who seem determined to run us off the road. Or to confront the "ladies" in the supermarket who learned cart etiquette from the demolition derby and seem intent on running over our feet or banging into us, no matter if we're sticking to our side of the aisle. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a ref on the road or in the produce department who could blow a whistle and call a foul when appropriate?

Instead of hearing that so-and-so lied about you or whispered nasty gossip behind your back, wouldn’t it be great to just throw down your gloves and start pummeling each other until there’s blood drawn or someone ends up on the ice…er, the floor? It would feel so much more sincere to just man-up and take care of business face to face; then, once you’re finished, you get up, shake it off, and go back to the rat race. No harm, no foul (unless one of you is uber-nasty, then it's five for fighting in the penalty box).

And for times when folks are just taking the game of life too danged seriously and need to lighten up, how about a little intermission, like in hockey when the Pee Wees appear on the ice and skate around to “Peanuts” music? Maybe we should all be forced to take a break and run around with pre-school kids who haven’t realized how stressful their lives are going to get once they graduate, get jobs, get married, have kids, get fired, lose their house, et al. A couple quick games of hopscotch or a few times across the monkey bars, and perhaps we’ll remember that life should be FUN sometimes. It isn’t all about working and struggling and trying to prove ourselves. We can listen to their laughter and remind ourselves what joy and passion feel like and vow never to lose them.

See what I mean? If the real world were more like a hockey game, we might all have less angst to carry around in our over-sized purses. Just remember to dress appropriately and, if you break any rules or just plain don’t cooperate, you will be tied to the middle of the ice and flattened by the Zamboni.

Happy Friday!


  1. Susan: This is inspired! I'm with you on hockey and life. Just this past week, someone approached me and dumped a full barrel of negativity over my head about something that really didn't require that much consternation. After she had come up for air, instead of checking her into the boards, I gave her a stern look and asked, "Are you done?" which had the figurative effect of a high hit. It was quite effective, if I do say so myself. Life is far messier than hockey. I wish we were all accompanied by refs on skates, really. Maggie

  2. Too bad you couldn't check her, Maggie (although as my mom would probably say, violence never solves anything...unless you have a ref to sort things out). I think having a look that conveys "I want to high stick you so bad" is very convenient. ;-) And wouldn't it be nice if every time we finished a proposal or a manuscript or had a new book out, a foghorn went off, lights swirled, and people cheered? Hmm, maybe I should have Ed rig something up like that for me here. ;-)

  3. What a wonderful concept, Susan! I love the "Give Hockey a Try" button.

  4. It's cute, isn't it? Thanks, Marlyn. :-)

  5. LOL, Susan!! Hey, I know an "anonymous" person or two who have broken enough rules to be flattened by that Zamboni... Who do I call to get one?!

    I love what you wrote here, and I really think your message of just wanting to interact with people on a daily basis in the honest manner of good sportsmanship is spot on. I've only seen a few live hockey games, but it's a sport I've always liked. I appreciate it even more now!!

  6. Hey, Marilyn, I think you can call 1-800-ZAMBONI and put in a request for a flattening. ;-)