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posted on October 10, 2007
5,6, Pickup Sticks
Hockey at its best is a cool, clear night, an outdoor rink, and a gaggle of strangers
By: Daniel Sanger
Published: December 2007
Winter, the most depleting of seasons, can arrive any number of ways, some disarmingly pleasant. The most enchanting beginning is with a snowflake, then another, drifting down outside the classroom/office/kitchen window just about the time the mid-afternoon doldrums are kicking in. As daylight dwindles, the scattered snowflakes become a full-on storm, with drifts forming, cars spinning and skidding, and a rare euphoria in the air.
Those who didn’t catch the morning’s forecast, or who just failed to process it, slide and skate their way home in loafers and pumps, grinning at perfect strangers all the way. Meanwhile, those who left the house prepared march triumphantly through a world gone wild, but one from which they’ll emerge unscathed thanks to their Sorels and parkas. The kids among us — male or female, child or long past — fire off a few snowballs. We know that, contrary to all logic, the first throws of the year will be the most accurate and that we’ll nail, no problem, the stop sign at the corner, the telephone pole across the street, the maple two houses down.