The best game you can’t name

Lucas Zayonc, Delta, B.C.

It has been said that “The good ol’ hockey game is the best game you can name,” and to most Canadians this is quite an accurate description.

While hockey is the best game you can name, it is impossible to name what exactly it is that makes it the best. It is the feeling that you got the first time you laced up the skates, your first goal, your 10th goal?

It teaches you how to be a follower, a leader and a brother fighting with 16 other soldiers for a common cause. Hockey is your first victory, your first shutout and your first championship.

You learn lessons not only through sweet victory, but through bitter agonizing defeat. You learn to let grudges slide and that what happens on the ice stays on the ice. But for those 60 minutes, it doesn’t matter if your ailing mother is in the other net, you are going to push your hardest to destroy the other team by any means necessary.

You learn to stick up for your teammates and to never back down no matter how much bigger he was and that the needs of one do not account for the needs of the many. You know that training isn’t just for you; it is for the last 10 seconds when your body screams no, but your mind tunes it out.

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You know pain is simply weakness escaping the body and that when it comes down to it, no one is going to sympathize with you for skipping a game if you aren’t on death’s door.

You know who the Canadians are just from their interviews because through the ‘umms…’ and ‘uhhs…’ you can see the intelligent, humble young men who play solely for the crest on the front and not the name on the back.

For 10 months of the year they are your second family and there may be dysfunctional uncles and annoying brothers, but you still stick by them for better or for worse.

Hockey has taught me lessons that no manual, guidebook or self-help book ever could. It has shown me that through hard work and determination, impossible is nothing and that destiny is a joke.

It taught me that effort beats talent.

You could spend years writing, revising and adding to works that describe and barely scratch the surface of why it truly is the best game you can name.