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Injury Makes Me Feel Guilty! How Do I Tell My Best Friend?
He Had To Hurt The Son Of My Dearest Friend!
Since my son was thirteen, he has been playing hockey. Both roller and ice, these two sports helped to shape him into the man he is today. When he became an adult, he didn't stop playing the game he loves. His closest friends still play, too, and hockey is also the way I met my best friend. These men, now in their early 30's have played both with each other and against each other, and up until last night, have never injured each other. As boys grow into adults, they get what I call 'man muscles'. It is why I can no longer watch them play. They become stronger and bigger. Any hockey injuries become far more serious than when they were kids and I can't bring myself to watch my son pummel anyone. My 8 year old grandaughter, my Mike's niece, has been to three of her uncle's hockey games. She thinks he is the strongest man in the world and just hopes that he will not ever beat up her dad. I told her that he won't (we'll see, the jury is still out on that one). She loves watching hockey and can't wait until he teaches her baby brother how to play.
Last night, my son played roller hockey in one of his house leagues. Roller hockey has much less contact than ice hockey and is not known for fights. Don't get me wrong! Plenty of fights occur, but roller hockey is considered less of a contact sport than ice hockey is. In this particular league, my son's team consists of friends, but the team he played also consists of his friends. Most of them have known each other since they were 13. As soon as he walked into the house last night, he said, "You need to call Nancy. I hurt Mike." I was in shock! I immediately felt guilty and had to know the details and what had happened. Nancy's Mike is not a pushover, to be sure. He is a highly skilled, aggressive player and will not back down! Mike told me that it started like hundreds of times before. Nancy's Mike was skating down the rink with the puck and my Mike was skating towards him, head on. He expected Mike to shift to the right or to the left and my Mike planned to strip him of the puck from the side and skate by. He said that Nancy's Mike didn't shift. He had a strange look on his face and just didn't shift. It was a head on collision. Neither went down and there were no penalties, but clearly Nancy's Mike was hurt.
Later, he told my Mike that just prior to the collision, his back froze and he couldn't move. After the hit, he had a hard time skating to the bench. He had missed the last two weeks of hockey because he had been having back pains. He said that he should have left and gone home last night, too, because his back was not any better. My Mike felt awful! He kept telling me that he didn't do it on purpose. He didn't plan it.
The Bonds Go Far Beyond The Game!
Nancy has told me that her Mike has been having back problems. She just bought him a big, beautiful recliner for Christmas solely because of his back, so I knew. I thought it was arthritis setting in or back strain from playing too much hockey.
So, at 10:30 last night, I called my friend. There was no answer, so I sent an email. She was probably asleep. I feel guilty because my son hurt hers. My Mike feels guilty, too. It doesn't matter that it was unintentional. It matters because her kids are so important to me and it matters to him because this is his friend. I have been sick all night and unable to sleep. I am worried about Mike's back, just as though he were my own son. Those are the bonds that this sport has built.
This is the reason I don't go the games anymore. My stomach can't take it! The last thing my Mike said before he went to bed was, "Mike is gonna be in trouble now with his mom because he hasn't told her how bad his back has actually been, so here I am in my 30's and I'm getting my friends into trouble." I replied by saying, "Yeah, he is and you are."
This morning, I will call Nancy again. Hopefully, she will forgive me. It had to be my son! More important, Mike needs to go to the doctor. Severe back pain in someone who has just turned 30 is a sign that there is something wrong.
Mike Called His Mom On The Way Home From The Game!
Nancy found out about the hit before I made the call to her. Her son called her and told her that he could barely walk and that of all the people who could have hit him, he didn't want my Mike to be the one. That look on his face was pain and probably a little bit of fear. None of them want the biggest guy on the team knocking into them. My Mike is built more like a football player than a hockey player. If he can shoot a puck at well over 100 mph, he hits hard! When other players hit him head on, they usually hit the ground in a heap and my son skates by, barely noticing. Very few people can take him off his feet.
It is why I can't watch his games anymore. I hate seeing people get hurt. My son doesn't play dirty. There are some players that intend to injure others. My son and his friends are skilled enough that they don't have to hurt people to win a game. The players that intend to injure never stop to think that these are grown men that have families to support. They lack ethics and shouldn't be allowed to play the game. These few give hockey a bad name.
Hopefully, my best friend's son will go to the doctor and be sent for an MRI. In high school he already had degenerative disc disease from hockey. It's a rough sport! It takes a toll on the body and these guys have been playing several times a week for almost 20 years. They won't be giving it up anytime soon. They love the sport and they will continue to play, even in pain. They will be playing wheelchair hockey when the time comes!
Thank God We Are Both Hockey Moms!
Even though I think that Sarah Palin gave hockey moms a bad name in the Presidential Election of 2008 (some of us read and don't depend on one-liners to communicate), Nancy and I will always be hockey moms. Our shared experiences with our kids and in other areas of life have formed a strong, strong bond. Our kids are adults now, but it doesn't matter. If her kids need me for anything, I will be there in a minute! She has been there for my kids on more than one occasion. I am lucky that she lives just a few minutes away from my younger daughter and my grandkids. Because Nancy lives close by, I know that she will save them should any disaster hit. She already has! Her Mike lives close to me. If he needs me, I will be there. In fact, next week I will be making him his favorite spinach artichoke dip and have my son deliver it to him. It won't make his back better, but it will make him happy!