Friday, 8 January 2010

The Great Outdoors

So why does white powder cause so much hassle in the UK? I’m not talking about cocaine here, but snow. Snow is something that I grew up with and it was something that came down every year in late October, early November. Though snow isn’t seen on these shores that often, it shouldn’t cause such huge disruptions, or wide spread panic.

Because of the snow, my training has been severely disrupted. With Christmas holidays and the snow messing things up, I haven’t been able to train as intensively as I would like. In the last three weeks, my on ice training has been cancelled twice and with the summer cup coming round the corner quickly I’m worried that we will be ill prepared unless we step our training up and start playing some friendly matches to ready our selves for the up and coming challenge.

I find snow quite fun, but because of the disruption it has caused, it is starting to get a bit old. I mean our bins haven’t been collected in two weeks now and our recycling bin hasn’t been collected in over a month. I think the old adage “if you want something done, do it yourself” rings true as we’re going to take our rubbish to the dump ourselves over the weekend. But that’s enough on that topic before this turns into a rant.

The great thing about snow in Finland when I was growing up was that it was the anticipation of the local out door rinks being frozen. The ground care takers would start laying water down as soon as the temperature dropped below zero and usually within a few weeks you could set up a game of outdoor shinny on the rinks. It didn’t matter what age you were, or what your ability was. It was just great playing the game outdoors and have some serious fun.

You see back then it didn’t matter how cold it was, or how much snow was on the ground. You knew the rinks would be clear and cut on regular intervals. It didn’t matter if it was -25 degrees with added -10 degrees from wind chill when you were skating. It simply did not matter. All that did was to shoot pucks in the net, pretending you’ve scored the game winner in over time in the seventh game of Stanley Cup finals, or just being there and have a good time with your friends. I think my school success always suffered during winter because I was in such a rush to get to the rink. Though my parents told me I wasn’t allowed out, until my homework was done and given they granted me the independence and responsibility of doing it on my own I usually whizzed through it (with often poor results) to get to the rink in time.

What made that time even more fun was that even at those temperatures, getting to the rink on a bike didn’t matter. You see in those days kids didn’t have mobile phones so you couldn’t just ring your parents to tell them to come and pick you up once you’d had enough, so getting home was interesting when you were all sweaty, but it didn’t matter. 5km in the cold didn’t feel that bad.

As the NHL had its regular outdoor game on new year’s day, it took me back to the days when I played outdoors and thought back on all those great memories from that time. I only wish that I could do that again sometime soon as it is the environment where I fell in love with the game and over the years it’s been a great relationship.

I think as a player I still have a good 10 years of shelf life left, maybe more if I take good care of my body and learn to listen to it more. In those ten years I intend to achieve some of the goals I have set for myself and hopefully some of them will come true.

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