Top News

Hockey is so enchanting because it's a microcosm of life


Hockey. Few things have the ability to get me as pumped as this amazing game – both as a fan and as a player. It touches something deep inside.

Having recently moved, I admit to missing my former beer league mates and our weekly group therapy. We played together for so many years. We witnessed each other age, become fathers, get married, get divorced and eventually mature. (Usually in that order.)

Being new in town, I accept that I will have to earn my chops as a spare in a couple of leagues – at least until they are sufficiently impressed by my on-ice talents. I am being realistic though – this may take a little time.

My hockey nickname is “The Human Zamboni.” I like to believe this is because my teammates acknowledge I play a 200-foot game. Sue thinks its actually because I spend much of the time lying down on the ice.

Hockey enchants us because it allows for the expression of every animal drive. The game stands apart from all other sports in its appeal to our primal instincts.  

It is a microcosm of life itself.

The speed and violent collisions are visceral and reminiscent of our personal and professional struggle to survive, compete, and thrive. For me, this begins in my raging warm-up, otherwise known as tying my skates. It is rare that this rite is completed without sweated brow, and some re-sampling of dinner.

Even the basest of drives is experienced in this game. When you think of it, goal scoring is salacious in every way. The scorer celebrates his or her conquest with arms raised and a wide grin of satisfaction. We honour the sniper on the score sheet and reward his or her wingmen with assists.

Why would the famous Art Ross have designed his ‘B’-shaped goal net to resemble a curvaceous rump? There appears to be no functional justification. It can only serve to make scoring an allegory for the act itself.

I do speak from some goal-scoring experience – having purple-coloured evidence of the times pucks have deflected off parts of my being into the net. (On at least one of these occasions, the disc actually ended up in the opponent’s net.)

Our highest ideals of artistic and creative expression are captured in hockey. In these special moments, time and space are experienced in an elastic manner. The intense satisfaction of the imagination when high-speed give-and-go passing plays come to fruition is unique to the sport.

We love those creative plays because our mind had a sense of the full potential and the artists – magically on the same wavelength – bring it to life, sometimes beyond our expectations. The glimpse of sequential actions happening all at once illuminates the mind and generates shivers of glee in audience and participant.

Hockey is also very tribal. As sweaters are distributed (either white or black), our allegiances are imprinted on our psyches – and both good and evil are instantly understood. The post-game traditions, in victory or defeat, as sweaty players trot back to the dressing room are similar to those of prehistoric warriors returning to camp after a skirmish.

The camaraderie, bravado and reinterpretation of recent events are essential parts of the ritual. The sharing of a few beers represents the best of the experience and it is in this aspect of the game that my domination is finally and fully recognized.

Ted Markle, a media industry veteran of more than 30 years, is a keen observer of the humorous side of the human situation. He appears in this space every Monday. You can reach him at ted.markle@tc.tc. – Twitter : @tedmarkle

Having recently moved, I admit to missing my former beer league mates and our weekly group therapy. We played together for so many years. We witnessed each other age, become fathers, get married, get divorced and eventually mature. (Usually in that order.)

Being new in town, I accept that I will have to earn my chops as a spare in a couple of leagues – at least until they are sufficiently impressed by my on-ice talents. I am being realistic though – this may take a little time.

My hockey nickname is “The Human Zamboni.” I like to believe this is because my teammates acknowledge I play a 200-foot game. Sue thinks its actually because I spend much of the time lying down on the ice.

Hockey enchants us because it allows for the expression of every animal drive. The game stands apart from all other sports in its appeal to our primal instincts.  

It is a microcosm of life itself.

The speed and violent collisions are visceral and reminiscent of our personal and professional struggle to survive, compete, and thrive. For me, this begins in my raging warm-up, otherwise known as tying my skates. It is rare that this rite is completed without sweated brow, and some re-sampling of dinner.

Even the basest of drives is experienced in this game. When you think of it, goal scoring is salacious in every way. The scorer celebrates his or her conquest with arms raised and a wide grin of satisfaction. We honour the sniper on the score sheet and reward his or her wingmen with assists.

Why would the famous Art Ross have designed his ‘B’-shaped goal net to resemble a curvaceous rump? There appears to be no functional justification. It can only serve to make scoring an allegory for the act itself.

I do speak from some goal-scoring experience – having purple-coloured evidence of the times pucks have deflected off parts of my being into the net. (On at least one of these occasions, the disc actually ended up in the opponent’s net.)

Our highest ideals of artistic and creative expression are captured in hockey. In these special moments, time and space are experienced in an elastic manner. The intense satisfaction of the imagination when high-speed give-and-go passing plays come to fruition is unique to the sport.

We love those creative plays because our mind had a sense of the full potential and the artists – magically on the same wavelength – bring it to life, sometimes beyond our expectations. The glimpse of sequential actions happening all at once illuminates the mind and generates shivers of glee in audience and participant.

Hockey is also very tribal. As sweaters are distributed (either white or black), our allegiances are imprinted on our psyches – and both good and evil are instantly understood. The post-game traditions, in victory or defeat, as sweaty players trot back to the dressing room are similar to those of prehistoric warriors returning to camp after a skirmish.

The camaraderie, bravado and reinterpretation of recent events are essential parts of the ritual. The sharing of a few beers represents the best of the experience and it is in this aspect of the game that my domination is finally and fully recognized.

Ted Markle, a media industry veteran of more than 30 years, is a keen observer of the humorous side of the human situation. He appears in this space every Monday. You can reach him at ted.markle@tc.tc. – Twitter : @tedmarkle

Recent Stories