Ch. 1: Puck Me (Wade)
I wish I could say the other word. I wish I could replace the P with a different letter. But here I was in my house on a holiday break. It was never great to curse in the house although my father had on occasion said the word. But there was a specific reason why the thought process came to mind.
Standing at the front door was me, my parents, and a police officer who had me by the collar.
“Mr. and Mrs. Decell?” The officer, tall, black, and bald with the hat off.
“Yes sir,” my dad said.
“I’m sorry that you have to see your son in the arms of a police officer, but there’s a reason why.”
“What did he do?” Asked my mother.
“He was seen trespassing at the hockey arena with another student and well, let’s just say there was an inexplicable activity taking place.”
“What sort of activity?” Dad asked.
“Well, I’m sure your son is dating someone by now because he and the girl were making out on the ice wearing no warm clothing.”
I need to stop the story right then and there because I’m getting ahead of myself. If you know me, you would think that me and a hockey rink seems impossible to mix together. But the truth is, that’s exactly what I had been doing for my time. Only, I don’t trespass in the middle of the night just to have make out sessions with girls. I do it to skate. Not just to skate, I do it to work on my ice hockey skills. Well, I did at least. But to give you an understanding of why hockey has been a part of my life, I need to address a couple of things with you, the reader.
If you have read the previous stories written by my best friends and their loved ones, you will probably know that I’m not as highly sociable, risk-taking, and adventurous as my best friends Huey, Jimmy, Troy, and Peter. The truth is, I was the one person who was the shyest one of the group.
Growing up, I rarely did anything from going out to parties, dating women, and pulling pranks. My focus was about studying, getting good grades, and making my parents very proud of me. They were some of the nicest folks I know, but sometimes, they were strict, especially when it came to grades. You see, my father wasn’t as fortunate as my mother. He had to work his entire life and unfortunately dropped out of school. My mother was very educated, studious, and had no plans to get married. She believed all guys were either self-centered or cared for about how women looked in bed more so than their personality.
That changed when she met my father. They met when he was working shifts at a local diner. He was her waiter and she was going through a bad time. She had gotten into an argument with her parents about why she couldn’t be a bridesmaid for her best friend’s wedding. Her parents felt that she wasn’t suitable to be in a dress and that broke her heart. My father didn’t need to do anything but make her some pancakes with banana sliced eyes and a chocolate chip smile.
My mother liked that and the two of them struck up a conversation. After a year of friendship, my father made the daring move in asking my mother for her hand in marriage. This is something I personally don’t recommend because if you like a girl and you think you should marry her, you should start dating her first and foremost because you don’t want to run the risk of not knowing them by the time the wedding rolls around.
But to my father’s surprise, as well as my surprise when I heard the story, my mother said yes. She seemed to have fallen in love with him all for those pancakes. Unfortunately, my mother’s parents weren’t as supportive of it and demanded their daughter call off the engagement. But instead, my parents drove to Las Vegas and got married in the famous white chapel. They spent a few weeks in Vegas having a blast. But eventually, they moved back to Texas where they started a new life.
I’m sorry to say I never got to meet my mother’s parents because they never forgave my mother for her decision to marry. But it wasn’t like my parents were rebelling against them. They would still live by the rules of her parents, but they wanted to do so more freely. In other words, education was important, but our house wouldn’t be a dictatorship.
Still, when I was living in the house, there were three rules I had to abide by.
1) No cursing.
2) No grades below B- are allowed.
3) No dating unless you get permission from parents.
Technically, rule number three also applied to social situations as well and that usually meant spending time with my friends. But those rules were not always met. I followed them to the extent, but my sister was a different story.
I’m the youngest of two. my older sister is three years ahead of me. Her name is Baylee and if Playboy or Sports Illustrated was looking for a model, she would be a perfect fit. Blonde-hair, 5′10, easily-seen cleavage from a distance. She was the perfect girl that any guy would fall in love with except she doesn’t do guys.
I was 12 when she came out to me and told me not to tell anyone. Of course, I couldn’t keep it secret for long and I only told one friend. Peter knew about stuff like this because he was coming to his own realization about his own sexuality. So he was able to guide me through the ins and outs of gay life. Of course, I was always a straight human being and preferred women over men any day.
Yet, my sister’s sexuality was found out when a neighbor saw her kissing another female. Our parents freaked out and confronted her about it. I don’t want to say my parents were homophobic, but the idea of their sister dating someone, especially a girl at an early age seemed foreign to them. Baylee would do things behind my parents’ back and it irritated my parents. She was able to keep her grades, but the relationship between her and my parents started to simmer.
Finally, in my freshman year of high school, she graduated and opted to move away from Texas. She didn’t fit in with our family as much. I hated to see her go because I loved her and she felt the same about me. But I knew it was for the best. She moved up north to Boston and never came back to San Antonio for a while. She didn’t even return for our Christmas get togethers as my parents and I had to ship her gifts by mail.
While Baylee was enjoying life up north, I was minding my own business down in school. I always made sure my grades were up to par with my parents’ expectations for me. I was the top student in every grade and I was a valedictorian. I was accepted to almost every school in the country and could’ve gone anywhere else. Yet, I chose the University of Texas due to being close to my family. I must admit that I am a momma’s boy.
Even though I was just a student, I still had a passion for sports. Jimmy and I were the first in our group to meet up before Peter and Troy came. Huey was the last one to join us and together, we were a group that always spent time with each other. We played sports together from basketball, football, and baseball. In my sports career, I had two memorable moments happen to me. The first was when we won the Little League World Series defeating a team from Japan. Of course, we had to get past a team from California that featured a girl pitcher, who somehow decided that Huey would be her husband and she his wife.
Then, when we were freshman in college, I was helping Jimmy as an assistant coach to his youth basketball team while his soon-to-be wife Stacia was with softball.We made the championship game and won it. Unfortunately, I had to get sick with the flu and forced myself to sneak into Madison Square Garden to watch our team win the championship.
Those were two of my most memorable moments in sports. Yet, to be honest, I feel a sense of mixed emotions. I didn’t contribute as much as I wanted to. Sure, I got an RBI in the little league game and I was able to help our team reach the championship in Stacia’s absence. But for the most, I never had a moment in time to call my own.
Here’s the thing. Ever since we formed a relationship with this author, he’s operated our moments into books. Some stories see us as secondary characters who contribute to helping us with their moment while we have our own stories. So the reason why we never got to tell our stories of what we were doing was because it wasn’t our turn to tell our story. Only Troy got to have his sports moment in two books because he’s the most famous out of all of us by playing football. But Huey, Jimmy, and I have to do ours separately.
Thankfully, the author has kept his promise to allow me to tell my story for you guys. Pretty much it’s the same format. I have a moment in a sport that I cherish for now on. Plus, I find my girl and fall in love.
Except, my sports moment comes from a sport I never was too good in. That was hockey. Being in San Antonio, my dad decided to take me to hockey classes in Austin, which was an hour or so away. I thought the smarter thing would be for me to start by ice skating. But my dad believed that it was best for me to learn how to fail first before I succeeded.
So my first day, I was wearing a uniform, shoulder pads, a helmet, some skates, and I had a hockey stick and all I did was skate, fall, get up, repeat. Skate, fall, get up, repeat. I lost track of how many times I did so, but it seemed the longest time I was skating was for about 20 seconds.
But each time I went to class, I able to improve my time up and decrease my time falling. Once I got the skating part down, it was time for me to learn how to handle the puck. It started with simple passes back and fourth with my classmates. Nothing too hard, but just normal. We passed the pucks from a short distance and then, we were instructed to go a bit longer distance with our passing.
Then, it was on to our next phase, which was shooting the pucks into the net. I always loved it waiting in line to have the puck so I could skate with the puck down and score the easiest goal of my life with no goaltender to defend.
When I think back to my early days of practice, I think back to the arena. It wasn’t as big as a stadium or a high school rink elsewhere. It was just an average hockey arena suitable for all leagues. It had one ice rink in the middle and one zamboni. For me, this was the perfect way to start my career.
But as it turned out, it was also the perfect way to start my romance at the same arena. Truth be told, it was a match that seemed to be strange and odd. Yet, it would have the most unusual of circumstances in my life.