So what if I never played the game?

* This entry is a bit more personal than I would normally write, but it is included as part of a ChicagoNow blogger exercise.

Sometimes you hear people criticize sports writers because “they never played the game.” Well here I am, on my third day as a hockey blogger, and I’m certainly wondering what I’m doing and whether I can/should/will do this because I never really played the game.

I grew up in a great neighborhood with families loaded with boys.  There was a group of boys three years older than me and they all were jock types — natural athletes and they all played high level hockey together, and went on to win an Illinois State Hockey Association championship one season.  Then there was my age group — me, Jon and Todd — and we were, um, not natural athletes.

So we were forced to tag along to our older brothers’ games and practices, where we became rink rats — running around under the stands, playing video games, or sometimes even watching the games.  Once, my parents took my brother home and forgot me at the rink, thinking (I hope!) I had gone home one of the neighbors. (Hey, don’t judge — before cell phones these things happened, and we turned out just fine!)Anyhow, I learned to skate and played house league hockey until junior high, and still play from time to time in a beer league weekly game.  But I’m only slightly better than a pylon on the ice.

My two friends and I just never found playing sports, hockey or otherwise, to be quite for us.  We went through high school together and hear from one another occasionally, mostly through Facebook.  The thing is, the older boys — they grew apart the same way.

My two friends and I were exposed to hockey and sports in a different way, it seems, than our older athletic brothers.  But we learned the games, became fans, and enjoy them still today, even though we never played the game.

 

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