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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 11:35 pm
 


Poetry In Motion

When you think of hockey, can you honestly tell me that you
think about poetry? I didn't think so. Me neither. What is hockey?
Hockey is physical, yet graceful; brutal, yet full of respect; hockey is
full of skill, yet somehow magical. When you think about it though,
poetry has a lot of those attributes as well. For me, hockey is an
experience. It isn't just a sport to watch. The sounds of the game are
captivating, and the feeling of the crowd is exhilarating. These poems
have a captivating and exhilarating feel to them as well, and they
capture - to a tee - the beauty that is hockey.

Hockey is a pretty complicated game. There are penalties,
offsides, icings, face-offs, line changes and so much more. I recently
read a book called: Eleven Seconds, A Story of Tragedy, Courage,
and Triumph by Travis Roy and E.M. Swift. The following quote (taken
from the book) was said by Travis Roy, a young hockey player who
was paralyzed after living 11 seconds of his dream to play college
hockey:

"My first reaction upon seeing it again was that hockey is an
unbelievable sport. A wonderful, wonderful treasure. It takes the best
aspects of a bunch of sports and combines them into one. Handling
the puck in your feet like soccer. Contact like football. Finesse like
basketball. The speed. Nothing has the speed of hockey. That alone
sets it apart. Quick turns. Starts and stops. Crossing over. I missed it.
That was my second reaction. I'd forgotten how much I missed it. It
wasn't the competition I missed as much as physically missed being
on the ice. I kept trying to remember how the skates felt on my feet.
The actual feeling of skating. The contact of the skate blade on the
ice, the feeling of the edges cutting into the ice. It's an amazing
process, when you think about it. A hockey blade is only 1/8 of an
inch wide, and since it's rounded length-wise, shaped like a bow, the
portion of the blade actually touching the ice at any given time is no
more than two inches. I don't understand the science of it-how two
inches of metal blade can propel a 200-pound man as fast as Carl
Lewis can run, then allow him to stop on a dime on a substance as
slippery and hard as ice, without ever losing his balance. That a tiny
length of steel on your feet is able to create such speed and grace
and power is pretty miraculous."

What you just read was not a poem, but it was poetry. To me
anyway. What does this have to do with the poems I selected for my
anthology you ask? Well I'm trying to give you a greater understanding
of the feeling and the beauty of hockey. I may be getting sidetracked
here, but I'm trying to make a comparison between poetry and hockey
so that there isn't a mind block saying, "You can't have poems about
hockey, they have nothing to do with each other!" The poems I
have chosen really give you a feel for the game. The authors, in my
opinion, are trying to take you beyond just watching a game. See,
there are two ways to watch a game. You watch the players, the
passes, the saves, strictly to, well, watch a game. You can also feel a
game. This is different from watching. This is poetry. Your mind gets
caught up with the sounds, the electricity, and the beauty. The trick is
to combine those two methods of watching and feeling, and when
you do, you get passion.

These poems use not only words, but also a combination of
words to help you feel that passion. These poems also bring back the
"classicness" of hockey. Nowadays, a lot of hockey players are driven
by money and fame. That's not to put a bad mark on the sport. I
would never do that, and note that I said "a lot," not all. These poems
take you to the innocent game of hockey, where, at that moment,
nothing else matters.

I hope that in reading this essay, you weren't just reading words.
I hope that you felt the uncanny bond that hockey and poetry share.
The poems that I selected really seemed to show a good example of
that bond, which can only be described as poetry in motion


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