Ten weeks ago my wife and I celebrated the birth of our firstborn daughter, Alexis. Since this is a sports based site I will spare everyone the several pages I could fire off right now about the love my wife and I share for our baby girl, the joy Lexi has brought into our lives, and how adorable our new addition is. Instead I will just state it all in one run on sentence at the start of this blog and add a picture so you can see for yourself……See what I did there? Awesome. Lets move on and find out how I could possibly tie that lead about my first time parenting experience into a sports related blog.
I guess I always figured that once I had a kid my hockey watching days would pretty much be over. Just too many responsibilities to ever have time to sit down and spend two and a half hours doing anything. Certainly no time to dedicate to watching simple games the way I once did. Even if I tried, I always assumed the experience couldn’t possibly be enjoyable. There was sure to be screams that would drown out Doc Emrick's voice, diapers that would need to be changed when nature called instead of when whistles blew, and there was no way the experience would match up when I traded in the sports fans standard glass bottle for my daughter’s plastic one. It just couldn’t work. I was convinced that as of February 22nd, my hockey watching days were over, and honestly, I had come to terms with that and was almost ready to move on.
But then, around the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs something amazing happened. Lexi reached that stage newborns apparently hit where her beautiful eyes opened a little wider and she was far more alert as each day passed. My wife grew up the oldest of five children and has a great way with kids. She is a terrific mom and while this is the first child for each of us, it is fair to say she is closer to the veteran and I the rookie when it comes to understanding the wants and needs of our daughter and even occasionally anticipating what may happen next. One thing I was not at all prepared for but have been pleasantly surprised with is Lexi’s early love for the sport of hockey.
Before I go any further let me say I am not one of those crazy hockey dads I made a living attempting to curb while working in youth sports over the last five years. When I say my 10 week old loves hockey, I am not implying she has a clue what is actually going on and I definitely won’t tell you she is going to be the next Angela Ruggiero. I would love it if she one day learns how to skate, I think every child should, but at this point I could care less if she ever picks up a stick and fires a puck. The only thing that matters to me as it pertains to her and hockey at this point is that two weeks ago we realized that when a hockey game was on TV and she was sitting in her Fisher Price vibrating chair that looks like a lamb, she was silent and looked on intently. My wife says something about how at this age they can barely see a hand in front of their face and don’t see colors, so what she is really enamored by is the white background and shadows moving up and down, not Daniel Briere's clutch play or Dustin Brown's heroics this post season on the penalty kill.
Call it what you like, it really doesn’t matter to me. All I know is that after spending a Sunday afternoon taking Lexi for a walk down to the park while her mom took care of a few things at the house, we returned home and turned the TV on for the first time all day. As luck would have it the puck was about to drop to kick off overtime in Game 1 of the Devils-Flyers series. We sat down and watched four minutes and thirty-six seconds of uninterrupted “free hockey.” When Danny Briere scored his "second overtime winner" in about two minutes after the first one was rightfully called back, we were both a little disappointed. We weren’t upset because we were Devils fans and they had lost Game 1 at the Wells Fargo Center (remember, we are color blind and can barely see the screen so are a ways away from picking a favorite team). We were just sad that for the afternoon, hockey time was over.