So yesterday I posted that we’d gone by to go to the pro shop at the rink and found out all the tournaments for youth hockey were there. Hubby agreed that going back to see the kiddos play would be an adventure and he was right. They’re so full of energy and seem to love what they’re doing. It’s endearing and adorable and honestly good. It was made better by the various people who seem to already know me (at least by sight) seeming delighted we were there to see the kids play. It felt nice to know it made someone happy I was there and I honestly kind of needed that brightness in my life these past few weeks. (Seasonal depression is trying to eat me again.)
I took my two cameras with me and actually used my DSLR for the first time in probably 7 years (judging by the memory card in it and what was on it). It was a challenge to remember what on earth I was doing with it and while I took around 200 shots, there’s maybe 40 passable ones. They’re not terrific, but it felt good to get back into trying to use it. I don’t think I’d want to use it during the NAHL games because it has no preview screen on the back for during the shots and there’s something both less and more intimate about using a camera you have up to your eyeball. I missed shooting that way, but I also rapidly realized why I didn’t at the same time. Someone walks in front of you and your whole body goes on high alert because you never saw them coming, your world narrowed down to a 1×2 window smashed against your face. At the same time I missed that very same thing just as much. It’s far easier to track what you’re shooting that way, your body and camera following on strict command whereas with a point and shoot you tend to just snap and pray in a stationary sort of sense a lot more often.
Anyway, enough of the camera blather that no one came here for, lol! We took one of our friends with us and amusingly he and I chose opposite teams to root for on the first game. (Spoiler, mine won.) We spent a good half an hour ribbing one another about the game, which I’m pretty sure amused a few people around us. I think it’s a lot different being there without knowing the people playing. The emotional investment is a gentle roll instead of a breathtaking boil.
After watching two games pretty much beginning to end and one intermittently when I got a chance to go over to the other rink, I can honestly say that these kids are good. You can see the things they’ve been working on in what they’re each trying to do: this one keeps trying to pass backwards, this one has been told to try to make the shot no matter what, this one is trying to get it between player’s skates to retrieve it on the other side, and this one has been told to give the others half a chance. Having spent a lot of time watching the NAHL Ice Wolves team and knowing a lot of their practice routines, you can see when something’s been worked on with which kid in crystal clarity. It was interesting to see that stage of their development from both a hockey fan perspective and the lens of someone always interested in how humans develop, how they learn and what things stick and don’t. Most of my writing focuses on people’s character, on how they interact with each other, how they grow as an individual. Kids show that on a much more outward level than most adults. It’s literal instead of a figurative suggestion. It shows in the things they love the most, so it’s only natural it shows here, too.
Overall, I loved going and seeing everything. I didn’t track the stats or the goals like I would with the NAHL games, I didn’t write a thing down. I tracked with my brain and my camera and it made it a completely different experience for me, too. Breaking my norms while still existing within them. Basically, if you get a chance to see this level of hockey: do it. It’s worth every minute you spend.