Baikal lake in rusia

First published during the inaugural season of the LFA in February 2014, this article still holds true today. Here is a scond look at how things were and still are today. Enjoy !

It’s cold, winter has hit, and the winds from the north decide how long the outdoor hockey season will last. From one city to the other, from one blue-collar worker to the next, not to mention volunteers, not every neighbourhood is equal for its love of its ice.

The era where municipal workers worked with pride and not just for the cheque has gone. As youth, we had blue-collar workers who took care of “their” ice like it was the apple of their eye. It’s not to say that kind of person no longer exists, but it is rare, and often constrained by a collective agreement that leaves no room for real workers or individual initiative. Instead, we settle for the lowest common denominator and the entire community suffers and pays the price. I’m speaking from experience.

For years, we’ve had a population, especially the young, that suffers from being overweight. All the campaigns for getting them to move will fall to nothing if the parks aren’t well maintained and if they don’t inspire our youth and the not so young to get moving. How do we really expect things to change if we accept mediocrity?

Other than the human aspect of maintaining places to practice winter sports, there is also mother nature. I was flipping channels the other day and when I landed on Météomédia (which should be renamed Météomoreorless they’re so often out to lunch) just in time for to see a streeter with the cream of the crop of our citizenry. The reporter asked some older people (like me) if winter has changed or if people were just tougher back in the black-and-white era. Of course people were tougher, they said. They uphill, both ways, to school every day in worse snow than we get now!

I recall mongolian winters where we built immense forts or the winter of 1975 where my mom had to come get us from school by toboggan, because the streets were so plugged with snow. But I also remember winters where the snow looked more like salt spilled on a faded table cloth. I’m not sure winter was colder or warmer than today. Memory plays tricks on us, along with the global warming. It pays for the media and government to ignore the temperature curves of the ball of clay we call earth.

I won’t launch into that never-ending debate. I’m too busy being plugged into a computer to work on league business and this site. It’s strange to say, but I miss the era when we seemed to have real winters. When I was young, I played hockey constantly, whether at the park, or on the ice pond at the golf course, or in the street after school every day.It was sublime!

Our parents weren’t paranoid like they are today, cranked up as they are by the media and the idiotic latest study on what is good or bad for their children. Here’s what I think is good for them: Let them play, and then let them play some more! If we don’t cut them loose with some nice spots to play on their own, to invent their own worlds. As it stands, we’re creating a nice generation of overmedicated, fat neurotics with chronically poor motor skills. Let them freeze their toes, scrape their chins, and take advantage of the promise brought by the northern winds, and their hidden joys.

Global warming or no, it’s bloody cold out. We seem to be having an old-fashioned hard winter. Take advantage of it. Put off to tomrrow what you think you have to do today (easier sais than done) and go play in the snow. You never know, there may not be a winter next year to help sell edible biodegradable newspapers on the street corner near you. There’s no stopping progress.