The Song That Changed My Life


I was born into a predominately girly family, one in which my poor dad had not even the cat and dog to relate as they too were female. Good old dad often bore the brunt of our jokes and it wasn’t until years later when I married and had children of my own, all boys, that I wondered if he ever felt left out of our exclusive club. Nevertheless, dad was always available to talk to. While I’m sure he found the subject of these discussions occasionally uncomfortable, they never felt that way for me.
The one thing that my dad treasured for his own was his love of ” The Good Old Hockey Game.” Both the song and the sport. Dad would stomp his feet, rub his hands together with glee, and with a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face launch into his own rendition of the Canadian classic which was also accompanied by the best Chuck Berry moves I have seen to date. ( Said moves can still be observed on special occasions!) These outbursts were more often than not met with embarrassed eyeball rolling and barely muffled snickers, but he never let that stop him and looking back I’m lucky that he didn’t.
One thing I remember are the late night hockey games dad watched on TV. Mainly he followed the play with relative calm silence. I would be lulled into the fallacy that perhaps he had fallen asleep, and I would be flirting with my own dreams, so you can imagine the startled jump I tried to hide when, from out of the blue, he’d rocket straight into the air from a seated position, and with a fire engine red, scrunched up, angry face begin to shout in booming baritone at the players. Obscenities the likes of which my young ears could not possibly understand would be directed at some sorry schmuck that had dropped the ball, or in this case the puck. “Shoot the puck, SHOOOOOT THE PUCK!!” were words left ringing in my ears for days, but I was also given the rare opportunity to see, first hand, the fist shaking, wild eyed, furious passion that only those with a true love of the game possess. He would then sit back down, and with a chuckle and a wink in my direction, mutter something like ” what a game.” Rather than feel horrified by his outburst, I would gaze at my father in reverence. Yes, we had left dad out of the “girl’s club,” but he had his own, and I had just been granted admission.
Now I am grown up and evenings spent curled up at my dad’s feet are a thing of the past. I wonder if he knew I had no idea what he was talking about when he tried over and over to explain the game to me. I wonder if he knows how much it means to me now that he did it anyway. Dad and I still talk hockey, and when I rocket out of my own chair in a blaze of glory, fists shaking and yelling at a bad play, I have only to look at my own children’s faces to see that things have come full circle. ” The Good Old Hockey Game” is a song that brought my dad and I closer when I was a child and it continues to bond us as adults. I respect him immensely for singing it even under the most hostile of conditions. And I thank him for it. Not only do I consider it a song that changed my life, but one that shaped it as well.
In closing, I have a very different take on things than I did at the beginning of this story. My dad has given me so much that I take for granted. Life lessons, unconditional love, a passion for hockey and the words of a great song just to name a few, and I realize I haven’t written this down for a contest at all.
This one’s for my dad.

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