Monday, December 12, 2005

Doughnut Hole-some Family Fun

Sunday morning, I got up early to go with my parents to watch some 3-foot tall people play hockey poorly in the cold. And I enjoyed myself. I'm as surprised as anyone.

You see, my little (age 4, I think?) cousin Avery came to town this weekend to play in a Timbits hockey tournament. [Aside: Is it still called Timbits hockey? It was years ago. I'll assume it still is. Tim Hortons is certainly still quite involved, anyway. Now I'm off topic.] I was in a good mood, and I've met the kid no more than a half dozen times, which means he probably doesn't even recognize his own cousin, not to mention that I've come to appreciate being in the company of family in recent years, so I decided to join my parents, who had already attended one game the day before (while I was busy watching Japanese cartoons in a room full of people I hate), for the final game. Now, it might be normal in some families for cousins not to know each other very well, but it's not in mine-- lacking any siblings of my own, they're the closest thing I have. When I was young, my family used to go to visit my mother's side of the family in Chipman almost every weekend, which is how I got to know everyone, but these days I only make it to Chipman a few times a year. And, since Avery is over a decade younger than any of my other cousins, I (and many of the others, I suspect) have never really gotten the chance to know him (although, to be fair, he's only 4-ish, so it's not as if I've lost the chance).

Anyway, back to hockey. Timbits hockey is quite a bit different from what I usually think of when I think of hockey (which, to be honest, isn't terribly often). No score is kept, and play is frozen every 3 minutes for players to rotate into/off of the lineup. The puck often goes one way while the players go the other, and sometimes teammates battle each other for the puck instead of the opposing team. Some of the players like to skate around and watch the bleachers instead of trying to get the puck, and Avery's goalie allowed one goal while he was out of the net waving at his family. At one point, Avery's team had too many players on the ice, but the 6th just wanted to cross the rink in order to take a bathroom break. Avery was a member of the Minto team, with green jerseys that more often than not came down to the players knees, and with players that varied quite a bit in age and skill level. He was pretty easy to spot, since he was the one carrying his stick upside down. :-)

It's not all different, though. Some of the older kids play surprisingly well, and there were a few nice looking plays. When someone scores a goal, he skates around with his stick held up, and at the awards ceremony at the end (more on that later), everyone bangs their stick on the ice in acknowledgement of the recipients.

It really is a very good program. It's not often that I come across something that I can wholeheartedly get behind in such a fashion, and especially something corporate-sponsored, but I can't think of one bad thing to say about Timbits hockey. The kids learn teamwork, get some physical activity, and are taught to emphasize fun over winning or scoring (no scores are kept, and there's no winner). And at the end, every player got a medal. My first thought was that giving one to everyone would cheapen it, but Avery sure didn't seem to mind. He held his up with a smile afterwards and said "Everyone on the team got one!"

I'm a competitive guy by nature, which is why you'll never see me play hockey, because I play to win, and I know I'd have no chance of playing hockey well. That being the case, I often take issue with these kinds of touchy-feely programs that eliminate competition and undervalue the winners. But I think that's a result of the way I was raised. Perhaps if I had played Timbits hockey when I was little I wouldn't be so competitive, and feel compelled to keep score in my head (Avery's team won 5-3 :-P). I think it's great that these kids can just enjoy themselves like that without worrying about it. They've only got a few years left before the world introduces them to the idea of not-so-friendly competition, so they should be able to enjoy it while they can. It's a little depressing to think how different the tone of a game with the same kids would likely be a decade from now, when they're all angry teenagers.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun, and so did the kids. I could have done without my mother glancing over her shoulder every few minutes to make certain I was enjoying myself, though. And I wish I hadn't eaten first, because I had to watch others eat some deliciously old-fashioned greasy rink food. Regardless, it was a nice relaxing way to spend an afternoon, and kudos to Tim Hortons for a positive and enriching program.


Blogger Jordan said...

That reads like it was written by someone else, aside from the bitching at the end. I must be getting soft in my old age.

Monday, December 12, 2005 3:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Aiden Green said...

I use to play Tim Bits hockey when i was younger and then moved up through the ranks, i must have played hockey for atleast 4 years (not counting the figure skating before hand). As to the play to win attitude, i always play to have fun, if i win awesome, if i lose also awesome, i just like having fun. It's good to see you enjoyed yourself in a social enviroment where there were a lot of people you didn't know. Maybe you are getting soft in your old age.

i wanted to have a picture in here but it wont allow the html. so here

Monday, December 12, 2005 9:03:00 PM  
Blogger Stefan Robak said...

To quote George Carlin:

"I'm getting starting to get more compassionate. I better watch that."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

It's good to see you enjoyed yourself in a social enviroment

Social environment? Say what? I stood behind everyone at the top and back of the bleachers and barely spoke two words to anyone other than my parents, and I didn't even speak to them much.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 11:59:00 AM  

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