Ryan and I have not played ball hockey in the backyard since our last series concluded more than a month ago. There are several reasons for that, weather and business travel among them.
There’s also a larger plan at work. Ever since he began keeping statistics of the games and organizing them into best-of series (with serious stakes), Ryan won’t play a spontaneous game. A game must be part of a larger series.
Oh sure, he’ll go outside and work on his shot, even if it’s bitterly cold or raining. But he won’t play with me unless it’s part of a series.
Ryan’s Christmas list was full of items related to these games. He asked for a set of goalie equipment. He asked for a video camera (so he could record our games) and an “announcer’s microphone,” presumably so he could add play-by-play to the video after the fact.
But it wasn’t all about him. His Christmas list included something for me — a “jersey” for me to wear during our games. He could barely contain his excitement, and I hadn’t even left the room before he began describing to Veronica what it was to look like. They worked for a long time to design the perfect shirt on CafePress (at outrageous cost, at least for a t-shirt).
He was thrilled when it arrived. I don’t know why he picked green, nor why he put a star on it. I just know that it made him very happy.
This weekend, after I got back from the Winter Classic, he announced it was time to begin our new series. There was just one issue — the approximately eight inches of snow on the ground.
No problem, he said, and then asked where the shovel was.
Did my son really just offer to shovel the patio so we could play hockey on it? This was a huge surprise. Let’s just say he’s not the most agreeable when it comes to doing household chores.
Yes, yes he did.
He worked at the snow for half an hour or so, and then came back inside, satisfied with his effort.
“The first game is tomorrow,” he said.
I didn’t bother pointing out today’s horrendous forecast — rain and warm temperatures during the day, turning everything into a slushy mess, followed by bitter cold at night.
As long as it’s not a downpour, I know where I’ll be after work this evening: In the backyard, a stick in my hands, and the world’s most unique hockey “jersey” on my back, shooting on Ryan, who will be adorned with his new goalie pads.
There won’t be a camera — he didn’t get everything on his list — but that’s OK. The memories we make will be recorded even without one.