Like most parents, my daughter and her husband do not let their kids miss school for just any old thing.
In fact, if their kids moan and groan and complain of the million and one things kids moan and groan and complain about just to get out of going to school, they can be pretty sure it won’t work.
Their complaints will fall on deaf ears.
But when my husband showed his grandson two tickets to the practice between Calgary Flames and the Arizona Coyotes that was happening in Sylvan Lake, and said, “Wanna go, Jackson?” — there were no questions asked, even though the event fell on a school day.
In fact, I think they both forgot to even ask the parents.
It was a given. He would go with his grandpa and that was that.
I was so pleased to get the tickets.
“I’ll give my ticket to you if I get drawn,” I told my son, an avid fan, whose entire basement is pretty much a shrine to the Calgary Flames.
“Thanks, but chances of you even getting drawn are like finding a needle in a haystack,” he said, gently, but with that kind of I’m-smarter-than-you voice he sometimes uses on me.
I said nothing, but like so many other Sylvan Lake hopefuls, trotted up the stairs in the multipurpose building, signed my name with a flourish and dropped it in the bin.
“They won’t need identification,” I said confidently to my husband. “Everybody knows who I am.”
Well, apparently they didn’t and I did, so it just goes to show you things change, time moves on.
Years ago, I was a regular at the old arena.
I was there at least once a week, my trusty Pentax 1000 in tow, standing in my familiar spot in the corner by the goalie, looking all hopeful that I would get the shot, the famous shot that would launch my career down some glorious awesome photography path.
It never happened!
However, I continued to take pictures, eventually converting to digital technology, which didn’t agree with the lights of the arena very well at all.
But still I showed up, taking pictures, watching, even cheering for the home team before remembering I was supposed to be impartial.
Over the years, the minor hockey players changed and moved on. Some went on to skate in bigger arenas; arenas where the lights were much brighter, the fans much louder and the stakes much higher.
I was proud of them all, and experienced a most memorable highpoint of my career, when I interviewed a young man by the name of Derek Morris the year he was first round draft pick of the Calgary Flames. Derek definitely made front-row headlines in our local paper and in our hearts that year.
When the ticket list came out as to who had been drawn to go the big Kraft Hockeyville game, I checked and re-checked to see if my name or my husband’s name was on there, so I could prove my son wrong.
Neither name was there.
But then my husband phoned me and said, “Guess what. I got drawn for that game.”
I figured I was wrong, his name was there, I just couldn’t see it, sort of like when I can’t see my glasses, but there they are right in front of me.
We spent about an hour in misplaced euphoria, before we realized his name was drawn for the practice, not the game. Upon that discovery, we remained euphoric, but slightly less so.
Since that time, I’ve heard all about it. How Jackson got a puck which was tossed over the boards. How he didn’t get a hockey stick, though the kid right next to him did. How incredibly good the players were. How they had the best seats right at the front.
I heard all about it and I was happy, not only for one grandpa who got to sit with his grandson and watch the big leagues play, but for the whole community.
Kraft Hockeyville was a well-deserved win, but, realistically, it didn’t launch Sylvan Lake into the big leagues.
The town was there already!