Saturday, July 16, 2011

What does hockey mean to you?

What does hockey mean to you? It's an interesting and complicated question. For some, it's a chance to be a kid again. Maybe it's a chance to feel as though you're a part of something bigger than yourself. The personal connection with hockey is different from person to person.

For me, hockey has always been a part of who I am. Although I've actually never played an organized game of hockey in my life, it has always been something that has fascinated me. As I have grown, the Nashville Predators have as well. Hard-core hockey fans in Nashville have watched this team develop into a perennial playoff team, while riding through all of the ups and downs on an emotional roller coaster.

Hockey brings jubilation and sorrow. Pride and disgust. Confidence and fear. All of these feelings have shown up during the course of Nashville Predators history. Winning a playoff series and seeing the city taken over by hockey fever during an extended playoff run shows how hockey can unite a town.

One of the most fond memories that hockey has ever provided me with was just before Game 6 against Anaheim. The fans could feel what was about to happen. During the warmups, the crowd rose in unison to cheer while the Preds were finishing up their drills. The amount of excitement and anticipation in the building was palpable. You just knew that was the day that Nashville would finally get over the hump, and win their first ever playoff series.

Family is probably one of the best words to use when describing why hockey is so important to me. It's provided me with a second family. I've built strong relationships with people through hockey. Going to Bridgestone Arena really feels as if I'm walking into my own home.

There are days when watching a Preds' game makes me want to take a 6-iron to my wall. Joy, hatred, fear, togetherness. To me, hockey is all of this and more. It's why I do this. It's a part of what defines me. It's my passion. What does hockey mean to you?