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All For One

Posted: March 10th, 2011 | Author: | 6 Comments »

I won the Rochester Youth Hockey Dynamites Division Championship with that stick.


A Three Musketeers bar is an odd thing for your father to hand to you at nine-thirty on a Sunday morning.

“Here, eat this.”

Odd, sure, but at one point in my life, it was a tradition of sorts — or better, a ritual. See, I’m superstitious, and was especially so when I was younger and when it came to playing hockey, so I didn’t let anything interrupt my routine. Got to the game about an hour before taking the ice, picked out a good cd to throw in the Discman — usually something from The Offspring or Green Day — started getting ready before everyone else arrived. I put everything on from right to left: right sock, left sock, right skate, left skate, up through the pads and everything else. Once I had the leg pads on, I did some stretching, listened to some music, and went out to watch whoever was on the ice before us. Talked to no one.

Ten minutes before the zamboni went out to chew up the ice and leave a clean surface behind, I went back into the locker room to finish getting dressed. That’s when Dad usually brought the Three Musketeers bar in. I don’t remember the first time it happened, but I don’t think I asked for it. He just used to go to the snack bar and pick one up for me because he thought it would give me an extra little boost of energy. That was how he used to help out before games — he didn’t try to give me long pep talks or coach me in any way; it was just a candy bar, a sugar-boost. That would get me through.

The hand-off was always short: “Here, eat this. And don’t let anything past you in the first five minutes.” He always said the same thing. I didn’t want him to say anything else.

Truth be told, I don’t even like Three Musketeers bars. Never did. But Dad had taken me to hockey practices that started at 6 o’clock sharp some mornings and he blew all of his weekends during the winter months for… oh, about fifteen years… ferrying my brother and me to and from the rink in a car that grew to perpetually smell like sweaty hockey gear. He paid for new skates when we outgrew old ones and hotels when we traveled, and sat in the cold stands when he wasn’t standing in the even-colder timekeeper’s box. How do you tell a guy who’s sacrificed so much that you don’t like his candy bar?

You don’t. You eat it and you play your hardest and you thank him at the end of the day.

And ten or fifteen years later, when you’re looking back on it, the candy bar seems to have very little to do with what was worth remembering about those Sunday mornings.

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6 Comments on “All For One”

  1. 1 Mary S. Haller said at 6:50 pm on March 10th, 2011:

    Wow–if every parent got a gift like this from their child, even just once, all the cold, early mornings would definetly be worth it!!!! What a wonderful tribute to your Dad.

  2. 2 Katie Butler said at 8:26 pm on March 10th, 2011:

    Nice, really nice – I’m keeping a copy of this for the family album.

  3. 3 Pete said at 8:31 pm on March 10th, 2011:

    Thanks!

  4. 4 Don said at 9:19 pm on March 10th, 2011:

    Very well said, sir.

  5. 5 Clayton Olney said at 9:28 am on March 11th, 2011:

    Very nicely worded too! Not patronizing, but nice.

  6. 6 Pete said at 10:09 am on March 11th, 2011:

    I appreciate it, Clay.

    Don, as always…


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