It is somewhat incredible how God can step into your life and bring with Him people that fill a void that you didn’t even realized needed filling. Oddly enough, my life has been enriched beyond measure by what I call my hockey family. Crazy, I know, but that is how God works sometimes. He is all sorts of stealth, and I love Him for it!
Some three years ago, on Facebook, another Chicago Blackhawks fan was razzing me and when I saw the last name, I remembered having a former student with that name and assumed it was John giving me a hard time. After chatting a bit and realizing that it wasn’t the John I knew, just for fun, we became friends anyway because he was just so damn funny. John lived on the west coast and was married with two kids. We both joked about how our spouses hated hockey and we decided to become each other’s hockey spouse. That meant sharing cool articles and texting each other game scores when the other was working, etc. If I got caught up in family things and forgot to text him, he would message stating that I needed to get my act together or else he was going to file for hockey divorce! HA HA!
Over these past two years, John has gone through some very difficult times and I watched a man go from an all time low to now flying high by getting his life straight with a new job, a new lady in his life and a beautiful relationship with God. The women in his life consider me his sister and his kids call me “Auntie.” My kids call him Uncle John and the relationships that our families have is amazingly beautiful … all because of a hockey team.
This summer we have plans in place to finally get out families together and meet. My Bella texts her Uncle John every day with a countdown of the number of days until we all get together. My husband is a real sport about it, I have to admit, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I have someone else to talk hockey with and it saves him from having to feign interest! HA HA!
My friend Andy (short for Andrea), is another Blackhawks fan and is just all sorts of crazy! We met the same way I met John and we have a similar relationship. We come from the same ethnic background and while I’m probably old enough to be her mother, I am her Hawk sister! Game days we have our own special ritual and just last month, I was dying laughing, she sent me a pic of her computer screen during her night class – she had her ear buds in and was watching the game on her screen instead of paying attention to her professor. I just LOVE this girl! We will be heading to Chicago to visit family this summer and meeting Andy is on our list of things to do!
There is also Mike, he and I became buds on a hockey website where I wrote an article he liked, we exchanged a few emails and now, he is like my big brother. He was quite a great ear last week when I was ready to choke my LBD-wearing cousin until her face turned blue. His family makes him crazy too so we share war stories that don’t seem so bad when someone else knows the shoes you are walking in.
He and I have very warped, twisted senses of humor and we swap jokes and funny blogs all the time. We share strong opinions on certain players and general managers in the NHL and often have “I hear ya!” bitch sessions via email. The only thing we disagree on is Patrick Sharp. I love him, Mike hates him and whenever Sharp misses a pass, has a puck hit the cross bar and not go in – I get a text from Mike telling me that we need to trade him.
Mike and I share an appreciation of cynicism as well. We regularly joke about writing a book about how to be a good cynic. He calls his wife “The Warden” so I think we have the potential for a best-seller.
So, who needs selfish, pain-in-the-ass relatives when you have friends like these?
Damn straight! Go Hawks!