Good Ol' Hockey

January 7, 2008
By Alex Roemmich, Clarkston, MI

He grew up in the outskirts of Alberta Canada, learning how to skate at the age of 3. Everyday his dad would take him out back to the iced over lake and practice skating, everyday at the same time, 5:00 to 9:00, it was almost a ritual. His name was Cadence Maven, and he loved to skate. Everyday Cadence would gaze out the window looking at the fresh snow covered ice, wondering when dad would bring out the snow blower and blow all the snow off the lake to make the rink. It seemed like it always snowed the night before, but Cadence loved to clear off the ice with his dad because he knew the greater reward was being able skate during the day, but never without dad. Cadence always made sure they had enough pucks and two the pegs in the net. Cadence did everything with his dad. His dad was his idol:, he wanted to be just like him when he grew up. Cadence was growing fast and before he knew it he was in the "mite" league. Playing with kids in his grade, Cadence was captain for his team, the Canadian Flames. His favorite position was Center, but he was good at every position. His dad came to every single game and practice, always cheering on Cadence and giving him positive feedback on what to do in certain situations in a game. Cadence's Dad always knew what he was talking about, whether it was Hockey or anything in general. He would always take his advice. Game after game, Cadence improved his performance and understood the sport more and more.
When he reached the "pee-wee" league, Cadence had scouts from across the country coming to watch his games. He still loved the sport, but after the whole town and neighboring towns were rooting on him to perform and get drafted into the NHL, he started to feel the pressure. Cadence now thought of Hockey as more of a job as a sport. and it was his Dad dragging him to practice instead of Cadence wanting to go. Sure he performed top notch every game and practice, but Cadence was quickly losing interest. He wanted a better thrill; it wasn’t like the good ol’ days back when he could remember.
But there was a newer sport that everyone was just getting into. Everyone was talking about it. All of Cadence’s friends told him to start snowboarding and slowly made the transition from Hockey to Snowboarding. Cadence’s dad was disappointed. Cadence never really hung out with his dad anymore he was a teenager, and after all hanging out with your dad was lame when you’re a teen. However Cadence enjoyed every minute of it, hanging out with his friends and doing what he now liked. His old friends still played hockey and told him he would regret it, Cadence didn’t listen though, he was being stubborn. His dad even noticed a change in his attitude. His dad tried hard to try and spend more time with Cadence but it always never worked out with his schedule. He was out in the mountains and often spending nights over at friend’s house with his dad alone in the house. Cadence’s dad just wanted what was best for his son, and whatever made him happy. Cadence was becoming more popular, and didn’t care as much for school or his family. By now the NHL scouts weren’t looking for Cadence anymore he fell out of the spotlight And was once know for his great skills at hockey, but threw them away for something different. He wasn’t getting attention from the newspaper and became just the average kid. An average kid that doesn’t follow their dreams that is. People were disappointed and he could see that in people’s eyes. He would usually get the occasional by-passer ask:
“Why would you throw all that talent away, just like that?”
He wouldn’t be able to reply, because he knew he was a quitter, and was ashamed of himself, and his decisions. Cadence was disappointed in himself, he started to become depressed and mad at himself for listening to his friends that dragged him into all this. He was mad that he chose to listen to his friends instead of his dad, who was the one he trusted the most. But, most of all he felt sorry for his dad. He suddenly remembered back when he was a kid, playing on the ice with his dad, the cool breeze blowing on his chapped face, his dad passing him the puck back and forth. Cadence decided to go tell his dad how sorry he was for not listening to him. Cadence began to talk about the good days, when he was younger and they went outside to go clear off the ice, and all the drills they use to practice together. Also all that time that Cadence’s dad spent trying to make his son stronger and smarter on the ice. Cadence wanted to play hockey again but was scared he lost most of his talent being away from the ice for about a year now. It didn’t stop him though; Cadence started practicing outside on the frozen lake. From dusk until dawn, practicing his shooting, wrist shot, snap shot, slap shot. His dad would come out and give him tips on how to perfect each shot. Soon after, the fall league was coming in for junior hockey. Cadence always hated this time of the year, it meant the start of tryouts, and tryouts were either good or bad. They are good if you make the team, but bad if you didn’t. It came down to the day of the tryout; Cadence had the butterflies the whole day. Always eat carbs two hours before a game, and drink a glass of water to get the maximum energy output, Cadence never forgot that. The tryout had started, at first it went pretty well, they told him to do circles, and tomahawks, ladders and more and more skating. The scrimmage had started each foot was gouging into the ice tearing it and making a distinct noise. He could sense the coach looking at him; he could feel the wind and the cold coming from the ice on his face. Sweat dripping down his forehead falling onto his blue cranks hockey club jersey. The adrenaline starting to build up. Cadence remembered this feeling, he remember all the cheering fans chanting his name out loud, that same feeling while he was on the ice, how could he forget this? Then finally with the burst of energy goes faster and faster, skates around the defenseman shoots top left corner and scores. The worst part of any tryout is having enough endurance to finish a drill, each drill burns you out so quickly it’s hard to stay on your feet. It was nice to see the most of the kids still on the team from before, but he knew he was fighting for a spot. Finally after two hours of fast-pace hockey and a scrimmage, the tryout was over. Cadence scored two goals for his team and knew that would help his standings on making the team. The coach thanked everyone for coming out and that he would post the names of the kids that are on the team on the locker room door. Cadence always hated this part. He undressed as fast as he could, took and shower, then went to the bulletin. One name after another he looked at the list: Alex… Austin…. Brad… Brent… Cadence! He was relived to see his name and couldn’t wait to tell his dad who was sitting in the lobby waiting for him.
His dad wondered, with a worried face, and asked “So how did you feel you did?”
Cadence cautiously replied “I think I did pretty well”
His dad cautiously set down his coffee and said “Well, did you make it son?”
Cadence just smiled and said “Aye”
Cadence’s dad was so proud of him; they went out to dinner and the local pub and got their favorite meal: Chicken finger platter with a side of Tony’s famous sauce. From that day on Cadence knew how lucky he is to be this close with his dad.
The interview continued…
“So Cadence how long before you were drafted into the NHL?”
“Well two years went by and I was drafted into the NHL for the Toronto Maple leafs at the age of 19. I was the leading scorer on the team. I took the Toronto Maple Leafs into the Stanley Cup Finals in 1989; they won with a 2 to 1 victory over the Red Wings in the second overtime.”
“What would you want to tell our viewers about your life?”
“This shows how Cadence learned his lesson the hard way and overcoming an obstacle that almost costed me my career as a hockey player. As long as you can stick with something until the end, you’re going to get something good out of it. Even if you get bored or tired of it, you should just stick it out ‘till the end, don’t be a quitter. If you just follow your dreams, and have a goal you can do anything in life.”
“Does your dad still attend your games?”
“Yep, To this day still you will see my dad Walter, attending every hockey game., even if he doesn’t drive me to the games anymore, or go out back on the lake, my dad is still there rooting for me, and shouting my name proud.”

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