This image from the past is one of my favorites!  That's my son, Matt, looking up.  I took this photo in 1998 at Fort Bragg, NC, right before my son's team took to the ice for a game.  They were waiting for the Zamboni to refinish the ice. Watching Matt play was fun and exciting.  It was because of him that I acquired an appreciation for the game and started to play myself.  My appreciation grew even more as I worked to acquire the skills needed to play.  In addition, my admiration for my son's talent and work ethic grew.  I gained a new awareness of what it takes to play this high intensity, multi-skilled game.  So...when I watch hockey games, I have a true understanding of the effort, skills, and talent the players exhibit on the ice.

The game is an odd mix of roughness, athleticism, force, and grace.  Yes...even grace.  It is an amazing combination of skills; speed, footwork, maneuvering, stick handling, passing, and shooting.  The players are in constant motion having to incorporate all of the aforementioned skills at once.  Players sprint down the ice at full speed with the puck on their stick while dodging, pivoting, and turning; then, right on target, they deliver the puck to another player or shoot on goal.  It's beautiful to watch, even in the middle of all the checking, hits, and yes...sometimes fights (as the offending player is escorted to the penalty box while the song "Bad Boys" is being played).  I do love the game of hockey!

My favorite team?  The Carolina Hurricanes, of course!  I'm a Carolina girl!

Linda S. Montgomery

April 11, 2015

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