Where Were You When …

… the Newtown shootings happened?

I was not where I wanted to be … 3 hours away from my kids, working as a hockey trainer.

Immediately a feeling of panic set in as I realized what had happened. It was Friday and I wasn’t going to see my kids until Sunday.

But here I was, with a group of 19 teenage boys, watching over them as they played in a tournament in Medicine Hat. I wanted to be with my kids but I couldn’t leave and I knew there was no danger, it was just my knee jerk reaction to the shocking, terrible news. I called my kids and tried not to cry. I cried in the bathroom where no one could see. I cried into my pillow at the hotel after everyone had gone to bed and I’d walked the halls to make sure.

Lunch with the boys. Friday afternoon.

When I regained my composure I realized the position I was in.

Here were 19 boys (granted, at 16 & 17 they are hardly helpless kids) who I had a role in protecting. Their parents sent them out the door that morning, too, and were probably thinking the same things I was thinking about my own kids.

So I did the only thing I could think to do – I focused on the boys. For this weekend, they were my kids.

It’s pretty easy when they are so funny and awesome.

It’s pretty easy when all you have to do is dodge a few pucks and sticks on the bench.

It’s pretty easy when you win the whole tournament.

Medicine Hat 2012 AA Midget Tournament Champions
NWCAA AA Midget Stamps

It’s pretty easy when you know for certain your kids are safe with your family (my daughter with my mom, my son with his dad).

I’m back home now – got home in time to go skate for an hour at the ODR (that’s outdoor rink for you non-hockey folks). We had hot chocolate and baths and I prayed with my kids and sang them to sleep. And I tried not to cry. I wasn’t very successful.

“I’m not trying to humiliate you, mom, but I really like to deke you.” – my son, the comedian.

We are in the aftermath now. I’ve stayed away from the news, stayed off of most social media. I hide overtly opinionated stories and remind myself people express grief in different ways: some attack, some retreat, some opine, some listen.

For me, I think about what it’s like when I’m on the bench, watching the team play a great game of hockey … and if we happen to be down I think “this other team is under the false impression they are winning … they are not”.

That’s right, I think that every single time. Even when the clock runs out and it says we lost.

Did you see my boys’ efforts? Did you see that shit? This is not a loss.

Because it’s not the score, it’s not the measurable amount of loss … it’s not the strong overpowering the weak or body counts or penalty minutes or any kind of measurable number that tells you the real story.

There is nothing quantifiable in true loss or true love. We can’t measure it or call it a fact. We can’t tally it. We can’t fill out a score sheet on good versus evil.

And that’s why I know … Despite all evidence to the contrary … Love is winning


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