Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Inside the game

After 3 weeks, the gym class at Qing Hai Minorities University seems to have embraced the Canadian Cultural phenomenon known as Street Hockey.

I played street hockey a lot as a kid.  My brother will tell you that I played a lot of street hockey by myself, but that is only because he was too busy playing Atari to come out and play with me.  You could say that I was a throwback, a boy out in the open air with the wind in my face and piles of hockey dreams in my head.  Bryce was a slave to modern technology.

Winter 2009 - Annual Derman Street Classic

Every Winter when we go back to Canada we play at least 1 game of street hockey.  We'll always have a few guys show up.  We're out there with rickety nets, old half-broken sticks and a tennis ball, but we always  have a lot of fun.  We've had people in their 20's and people in their 50's out there playing.  It's inclusive.  You don't need skates or Rollerblades or anything, just a stick and some heart.

Gym Class

And maybe that's what we've got here on the Plateau.  It's just a bunch of people wanting to try something new, something other than basketball and soccer for a change. 

This past week we had 11 guys show up to give it a try.  The big guy on the left is really good.  He's from Inner Mongolia and has some field hockey experience.  I'm trying to get him to use his size a bit more.

The dude on the far right has shown up every time and he's pretty good.  In fact, it wasn't fair this week to have both of those guys on the blue team.  They did pretty well.

The coach has a blast (as you can tell by the photo, he's the one to my left).  He's a good teacher, always stopping to give a few tips here and there.  They work on passing a lot, which is nice. 

Let me tell you another funny story about the coach:

We are all gathered around and I said, "Okay, I want to invite you all to my apartment to watch a hockey game.  Maybe sometime next week?"

The coach replied, "Wow, thank you, thank you.  Hey, everyone, shake his hand.  Shake his hand."

Everyone proceeded to shake my hand and we worked out a time.  

Funny guy.

Next week we will watch some of 2006 Stanley Cup Final game #5, Oilers vs. Hurricanes.  We all remember that one, don't we?

Regarding the class, I don' t really think this will or needs to go beyond just having a good time once a week.  There really isn't anyone else to play at the moment; though, I did meet a guy last week who plays roller hockey with a bunch of Muslim people in another province.  Maybe we can set up a tournament sometime.

As for me, as I've made pretty clear thus far, I'm just happy to be playing.  The fact that people are actually showing up is a plus.  I'd love to work it up to 2 nets and 2 goalies, playing the whole length of the parking lot.  But as for right now, things are going well.

It's funny, but my love for hockey has grown ever since I left Canada.  I'm glad that it's grown to the level that requires that I start playing street hockey with locals.  Maybe in 10 or 15 years street hockey will be a normal thing for people here.  It's not that I'm trying to impose my culture on anyone.  It's just that hockey is so fun that it needs to be shared with the people around you.  Me and the Mongolian, Me and my brother, and Wayne and Garth.

Other brother Barry and me after a game

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