Friday, September 2, 2011

Why Life Should Be More Like Hockey

by Susan McBride

I’ve been going to hockey games ever since my first date with Ed six years ago (that's a picture of him playing in his league's tournament last year!). I used to think of the sport the same way Carla Moss does in The Cougar Club:

“You’re equating hockey with fun?” Carla looked at Kat like she’d lost her mind. “Watching a bunch of overgrown boys pummel each other with sticks? Do any of them still have their own teeth? How does that saying go, ‘I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out’?”

Since Ed gets season tickets to the St. Louis Blues games and since he plays in a local league, I’ve witnessed an abundance of hockey since I met him. I still don’t understand the rules completely, but now I can see why so many love the sport. And the better I grasp the finesse involved, the more I realize that the world might be a much nicer place if it borrowed a few rules from ice hockey. I know, I know, that sounds bizarre, but stick with me. Listen to my suggestions, and I think you’ll see the logic, too.

First things first, dealing with other human beings can be tough as not everyone’s on the up and up. Think of life as a playground where bullies thrive on ruining everyone else’s fun and plenty of folks try to skirt the rules. I don’t believe that all adults are grown-ups any more than I believe Alexander Ovechtkin is a choir boy (he’s a forward for the Washington Senators and, last season, he earned a two game suspension for checking a Chicago player against the boards and breaking his ribs and his clavicle). Two politicians from opposing parties can’t stand within spitting distance without name-calling these days. I’ve watched parents fight over hard to come by Christmas gifts in Target.

Although at least hockey players are outfitted for the rough stuff, unlike the rest of us who don’t suit up before we get in our cars and deal with idiots on cell-phones behind the wheel who seem determined to run us off the road. Or the ladies in the supermarket who seemed to have learned cart etiquette from bumper cars and seem intent on running over our feet or banging into us. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a ref on the road or in the produce department who could blow a whistle and call a foul when appropriate?

Instead of hearing that so-and-so lied about you or whispered nasty gossip behind your back, wouldn’t it be great to just throw down your gloves and start pummeling each other until there’s blood drawn or someone ends up on the ice…er, the floor? Wouldn’t it feel better just to man-up and take care of business face to face; then, once you’re finished, you get up, shake it off, and go back to the rat race?

And for times when folks are just taking the game of life too danged seriously and need to lighten up, how about a little intermission, like in hockey when the Pee Wees appear on the ice and skate around to “Peanuts” music? Maybe we should all be forced to run around the playground for five minutes with pre-school kids who haven’t realized how stressful their lives are going to get once they graduate, get jobs, get married, have kids, get fired, lose their house, et al. A couple quick games of hopscotch or a few times across the monkey bars, and perhaps we’ll remember that life should be FUN sometimes. It isn’t all about working and struggling and trying to prove ourselves. We can listen to their laughter and remind ourselves what joy and passion feel like and vow never to lose them.

See what I mean? If the real world were more like a hockey game, we might all have less angst to carry around in our over-sized purses. Just remember to dress appropriately and, if you break any rules or just plain don’t cooperate, you will be tied to the middle of the ice and flattened by the Zamboni.

Susan McBride is the author of Little Black Dress, a tale of two sisters, one daughter, and the magical black dress that changes all their lives forever (William Morrow Paperbacks, August 23, 2011). She has also penned The Cougar Club, a mystery series, and several novels for young adults. Visit her web site at for more info.


  1. Love this post, Susan. Thank you for it! Must go suit up now. Have to face the crowds of shoppers at The Rack's 75 percent off sale, downtown. I would *probably* pummel someone over the last pair of hard-to-find, to-die-for boots. I would! And I can't even claim, "I'm doing it for the CHILDREN!!!" Heh.

  2. I don't know. With three of the NHL's "tough guys" dead this summer due to either depression or painkiller overdose(the last just this week), I think it's a safe assumption hockey can wear you down as much as life does.

  3. Well, I don't do hockey (but, um, oh, wasn't there something about that shiny cup you all idolize and us winning it??;-), ... and you know I'm a diehard Pats fan, so I'm right there with you on the sports/padding theories! So less angst...yes, i'm going to work on that!

  4. msisobel...I know! So, so sad. Even the padding doesn't help sometimes.

    Laura, less angst is always good! I'm working on that, too!

  5. What a fun post, Susan!!
    I've gained a new appreciation for hockey ever since my son became a die-hard Blackhawks fan. He has a few t-shirts/jerseys, a signed puck, a handful of great photos (his heroes are Kane and Toews ;) and even a Blackhawks garbage can in his room! I'm going to let him read this post this weekend -- I think he'd also agree that life would be better if people acted more like hockey players...

  6. Hahaha! I was just saying the other day how much calmer and generally happy I was when I was on a roller derby team. I bet in real life, hockey players are just super relaxed, b/c they get all that angst and aggression out in the rink.

  7. Ernessa, you were on a roller derby team??? I LOVE it!!! You must tell us about that someday! Yeah, my hubby says that he feels SO much better after practices and games. He gets all his frustrations and angst out on the ice. Everybody needs an outlet, that's for sure. :-)

    Marilyn, I would say "Go, 'Hawks"--but you know I can't do that. I would be banned from all future St. Louis Blues games. ;-)