A First-of-its-Kind Cultural Experience for Me

College hockey!

January 26, 2015

The end of 2014 presented several pleasant and unique experiences for me and my family. The year ended on a high note and it appears that 2015 has much in store for us as well. For several months last year, my son had been asking whether he can play hockey. With capoeira three days a week, piano, chess, and a weekend advanced math class, not to mention soccer in the fall and spring, I explained to him that there is no room to add anything else. After months of supplications, I offered to take him to a hockey game.

Yesterday afternoon, we went to the Boston College-Northeastern University hockey game. The Eagles vs. The Huskies. The two schools have a long-standing rivalry, so I prepared the boy for that. He was excited rooting for my alma mater. I, on the other hand, was not particularly looking forward to the game but I wanted to make my boy happy. I packed three books and five articles, certain that I would read at least two articles and peruse the books to decide which I would read first. I had no intention of actually watching the game! I did not know the rules of the game. I only knew that the object of the game is to get the puck into the net—pretty basic. My only other knowledge of hockey is that hockey parents’ fierce competitiveness can be unhealthy and that the games can get physical. That was the extent of my familiarity with the sport.

Experiencing Hockey for the First Time

Walking onto the BC campus brought back many memories. The last time, I had been in Conte Forum was for a Third Eye Blind concert when I was a few months pregnant with the boy and ran into a few of my undergraduate students who were shocked to watch me sing along many of the songs. (In their eyes, I was old and this was a contemporary band). I was proud to be bringing my boy to campus.

To my surprise, I watched the first round of the game with much enthusiasm. My son’s excitement was contagious and the game was dynamic. Unlike soccer, there was a lot of hand/physical contact. Players pushed, shoved, and hit each other with no consequence, for the most part. As the game went along, I figured out the rules and norms and explained them to my boy who, himself, had never been to a hockey game or even watched it on television. It was fun!

During the first intermission, we chatted about the game and I was filled with joy when my baby boy told me that I was the best mama in the whole world and that he loves me immensely, and gave me several big hugs. As the break wrapped up, I reached out to get my bag of readings and that is when the boy asked me not to work. Looking at his face and into his eyes, I knew that he would be disappointed, so I put the work away. At that moment, I realized that I needed to be fully present, to be there in the moment. We enjoyed every minute of the game together. It was riveting! Eagles won 4-2. Although they had scored a 5th goal toward the end, it was deemed inadmissible.

A Few Lessons Learned

Most son taught me several valuable lessons yesterday. He challenged me to attend an event outside of my realm of experience and comfort. I could not believe that I was enjoying a game in a stadium where the temperature is kept low and I needed a hoodie. This was not in my Caribbean nature! He taught me to be fully present, to make our time together quality time, and to fully partake in the experience together. He taught me to enjoy some down time.

Being the geek mama that I am, I seized the game as an opportunity to teach my boy two new vocabulary words, posthumously and margin, and to explain the concept and strategy of creating large margins in a competitive sport. After the game, we went for pizza where we explored the reasons why BC won the game. They played well as a team, which helped during the periods when they were down to just three players. They received a third more penalties than their opponents, so team cohesion was important. They scored early and tried to maintain a solid winning margin. This helped in the end when their last goal was disqualified. They had a very competent goalie, which helped when they had too few players to protect the goal post. They kept a good momentum throughout the game and even at the end when their opponent became aggressive and desperate to score. The margin was too wide for them to close and BC was clearly benefiting from the momentum that they generated from winning. Boston College was in it to win it!

Where to Now?

My boy and I both agreed that it would be fun to go for a couple more games. I got tickets for an upcoming game and for the last Hockey East game. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that BC will be in the running. He’s hoping to score another puck and to start a collection of game pucks.

Next year, the Bean Pot!


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