Maybe this will sound unbelievable, but as a boy I wanted to play ice hockey. Really. So much! I wanted it so much it was insane.
When I was in first grade, a guy who was scouting boys for the ice hockey team came to our class. He didn’t even need to say a word and I sprinted over to him to pick up an application form. I filled it out in my best handwriting before the school let out, so that I could get on the ice as soon as possible.
I wanted to be in a goal. On ice.
There was just a tiny hiccup. The application had to be signed by my parents – and this was probably the moment that got me into football.
You say you don’t understand?
Well. The application got lost somehow, it had been misplaced…
My family didn’t have the money for me to play such an expensive sport as ice hockey. Just imagine: a family of five, with a modest income – not a family that could support a budding ice hockey player. I’d have had to buy all my own gear: the stick, the goal pads, helmet, gloves, everything. My parents couldn’t afford that. And so my ice hockey dream ended before it had even begun.
My dad took me by the hand a strategically guided me away from the ice and onto the grass.
I did continue to play hockey. At home, mostly. Or on the small spot of concrete behind our house.
I’m not going to lie, several chandeliers in our living room got the worst of it. Once I was playing an imaginary final of an imaginary world championship against Canada. I had a small goal set in the balcony door – the lower part was a frame and I used the curtains as the net. What a sight: a zealous little boy with a big dream and a net fluttering in front of him.
One goal, one shot of the soft foam ball, and I would be the world champion. I’m not going to lie, of course I did it, I scored: “Goaaaaaaal!” I flung my arms into the air, forgetting I was still holding my plastic hockey stick, and – CRASH! Half of our chandelier was gone.
I didn’t even have time to come up with an excuse before a slap landed on my face. It hurt, yes, but nobody could take away the world cup title from me…
P.S. Next week - Chapter 16