“It gives all of us a chance to be together...good team play is very satisfying” - Charles M. Shulz (creator of “Peanuts”) speaking of his annual Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournament.
Hockey is the greatest sport ever. I know I’m biased, but this is a blog. What do you expect? One of the best things about any team sport are the friendships forged by those working alongside one another during competition. In my last blog, I briefly touched on the social advantages of joining a hockey team. The building blocks of camaraderie are the direct result of the blood, sweat and tears shed by you and your teammates through the pursuit of victory. While that goal is what brings each of you into the locker room, it’s the relationships that are built there which can keep you together for years to come.
A Mixed Bag
From age to lifestyle, recreational adult sports can bring together a diverse group of people...and our team is no exception. The average age is probably about 40 or so, with the youngest being just over 21 and the oldest approaching 60. It’s a broad spectrum of youth and experience. We have single guys, happily married guys and happily divorced guys. As for lifestyles, we have a horse farmer, an accountant, a veterinarian, a pre-med student, a librarian and a high ranking government official, just to name a few. Some guys live just minutes from the rink, and others drive nearly an hour to get there. One guy’s even been known to fly in from Mexico (where he often works) just to play, then jumps on a plane and heads right back. That’s dedication!
Old or young, novice or experienced, there’s just something special about an adult who spends most of their time working a job, perhaps taking care of their family, and fitting in some hockey with a group of folks he might never have met otherwise.
Smoothie King or BUST!
On the ice is where you find out what kind of players your teammates are. But it’s off the ice where you find out what kind of people they are. Spending time with your teammates isn’t only fun, it’s essential to building camaraderie. Through socializing, you often find you have a lot more in common with your teammates than just hockey.
Since we’re all adults on my team, we report to the local watering hole after our games. We order some beers and talk about the game, of course. You know, the good, the bad, the ugly. But we also tell stories, talk about our jobs, families, everything. It’s a lot of fun and it’s absolutely instrumental in strengthening the fellowship of our team.
It should be noted, however, that I don’t condone underage drinking. So, if your team is under the age of 21, I hear Smoothie King is quite the hot spot.
A Little Warm and Fuzzy
For me, it’s a tremendous comfort to know that for an hour each week, we will lace up, take to the ice, work, fight, and claw our way through each and every battle together. Knowing that the guy next to you is going to leave every ounce of himself on the ice with you breeds a mutual and unspoken respect. That phenomenon speaks to the very essence of character. Over the years, it’s not only taught me a lot about hockey, but also about life. I’m proud to call each of these men my teammates. But more improtantly, I’m honored to call them my friends.
Last week we won our division’s semi-final game and advanced to the championship. I honestly have no idea how we’ll do. But, win or lose, I know we’ll be wetting our beaks afterwards and discussing what went right, what went wrong, and how we’ll be better next season. I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish us luck!
What’s Your Story?
Tell me about your team! How do you build camaraderie? Please post your thoughts below!