*Editors Note: This “Writings on the Rink” post was originally written back in October of 2012. In an attempt to better serve our readers, I’ve been re-categorizing, organizing and re-reading all of the articles published on the site. It’s a tedious job and many can attest to the fact that I’ve been complaining about it non-stop. But often even frustrating tasks can deliver a smile to your face. Once I’ve written something and it goes into the archives, I generally don’t retrace my strides… But this small little piece was special to me at one point and as it turns out, it still is.
Feminism is a movement that most women align themselves with, in one form or another. Many women won’t be preaching their beliefs from the rooftop, it’s these women that I relate with closely.
Of course, believing in equal rights and standing up for them is a necessary action even in this day and age. It’s the most inept individual that is incapable of believing in equality. While this is a subject that can launch debates, change societies and turn the most meager, quiet personality into a monster, I find myself quietly watching conversations unfold. Never do I chime in, never do I voice an opinion regarding the feminist movement; because quite frankly and in all honesty, I have never cared. Unless, it pertained to hockey.
Lead by example, that’s the most sound advice my parents have ever given me. Set an example by never fearing your ability to learn. Learn to use power tools, change a tire, mow the lawn and yes, play hockey.
When every little girl I knew was twirling, swirling and spinning across the ice, I was stick handling, shooting and sliding across it. For me, Grace was a girl that sat three kids over in art class; it was never a quality that I possessed. My heart was never drawn to the classical music and tutus, it always sided with the gloves, helmets and hard rock that blasted through the arena speakers. When your heart is tied to the ice rink, you possess no grace and your feet only skate to the sounds of a goal horn and the screams from your coach; a hockey lover you’ve become.
Hockey is something that I’ve known my entire life, the ice calls to me. I crave the cool air that envelops the night; the air that turns ponds into playgrounds. I’ve kissed the moon good morning before a practice, hit hundreds of pucks, driven thousands of miles and watched what seems like a million periods of play, all in the name of hockey.
That being said, the only time where I’m quick to drop the gloves and give my “female opinion” is when someone questions my knowledge and ultimately my passion for the game. It’s unfair to think that because I’m female, I know anything less than a man, h-e-double hockey sticks, I probably know more.
I can tape a stick, sew a jersey and make my equipment smell like a fresh batch of cookies. I can shoot a puck, take a hit and light the lamp. I can draft a fantasy team, talk box scores and recite a roster. I play the game, watch it and appreciate it. What I don’t appreciate is the average judgmental person making assumptions about my love of the game or place in it. Take a page from the playbook of life, lead by example and don’t expect that either gender is less knowledgeable or inferior. It goes both ways, girls can do guy things, guys can do girl things.
The beautiful thing about hockey, if you love it, it knows no gender.