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Introduction: Dogwood's Dream of Hockey

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The State of Georgia isn't exactly known for its hockey players.  In many towns, you'd be lucky to find one rink, let alone enough interest in youth hockey to field any sort of legitimate program, let alone an entire league.  So that's why my parents were shocked when I told them that despite being a decent enough baseball and basketball player, I wanted to try my hand at hockey.  But, being the loving parents that they are, they didn't bat an eye.

There was just one problem though - there were literally no ice rinks in our entire town.  As much as my parents love me, we couldn't just up and move, so my dad and I had to improvise.  What took place would go down in infamy in not only our city, but the entire state.  It also cemented my love of hockey and catapulted me to where I am today.

Immediately after I told my father that hockey could be my future, he sprang into action.  The first thing he did was to find some way to build a rink in our backyard.  With it barely being 32F on that winter day, that much natural ice was not an option, but he got an idea.  He hooked up our garden hose to the backyard and turned it on full blast.

He ran that puppy all night until our entire backyard looked more like a swampy bog than our previously immaculate backyard.  And while water was the first step, the ultimate move to ice was more than tricky to figure out.  But eureka!  He, being quite handy, constructed a super-cooling, portable machine that ran on what might have been spent fuel rods for all we know.  It looked like one of the contraptions in Ghostbusters.  He strapped it to his back, pulled the ice gun around and held it firmly in both hands.


When he fired it up, every light in the county went out.  Traffic lights, electronic billboards, internet connections, every single thing that ran on electrical power immediately went kaput. 


And while we were all convinced that the new ice gun mechanism was a gigantic failure, since nothing happened other than killing the entire power grid, a blinding flash of light shot out of the front of this machine.  An ear-piercing shriek called out and we immediately heard the crunching of ice crystals forming in our south Georgia back yard.


When he tried to shut off the machine out of  fear that he might be about to blow up the entire neighborhood, smoke started billowing out from the backpack he wore and sparks shot out like fireworks on the Fourth of July.  He hastily threw off the machine onto the ground just in time to see it burst into flames.  We didn't even see the rink until a few minutes later when my mother came outside with a flashlight.  None of us know quite what that machine did, how it worked, or whether we were even dreaming that this all happened.  But in the middle of our backyard stood an immaculately smooth ice rink, roughly 1/3 the size of the standard hockey-size.  


Elation doesn't begin to describe it.  I leapt in his arms and we celebrated like we just hoisted the championship trophy.  Our celebration was quickly dispelled by the sound of sirens that were responding to the power outage.  By this time, the grid was functioning again and we were able to see the rink in all its glory, thanks to our back yard flood lights.  


The rink wasn't the only surprise that night, though.  My dad had been secretly buying me a full set of hockey gear and presented me the skates, stick, helmet, pads, and jersey on that fateful December night.  I must've skated for four hours before my parents finally retrieved me and insisted that I go to bed.  It was one of the best days of my entire childhood and it wouldn't have been possible without my dad and his incomprehensible ice-rink machine.  

And I don't know why, but he decided not to meddle with inventions after that.  Maybe it was to avoid another city-wide electrical shut down, but I like to think it was because that machine, that moment, that rink, was something that was truly ours.  Something that most people wouldn't believe actually happened.  Something that united a father and son unlike anything else.  Something that made me forever love hockey


And when I think back to that night, I can still see my dad wearing his excitement proudly on his round face, telling me how much he loved that I loved hockey.  Telling me that if that's what I wanted to do with my life, then we should get started right away and do everything we could to make that a reality.

Some days, when I think of my dad, I think of that night.  And more often than not, it feels like a dream, but that doesn't change a thing.  It led me to where I am today, which is truly the only thing that matters.


(848 words)


Edited by dogwoodmaple
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  • dogwoodmaple changed the title to Introduction: Dogwood's Dream of Hockey

This is a great read! Pieces like this really help bring your player to life and give them some personality and you do a really good job of that. You space out and break it up really well which helps it flow nicely. My favourite part of this is the way you express the emotions, it brings the piece to life. Cracking job 9/10

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