Friday, May 6, 2011

11 Crowns and One Broken Dream

As I spend time recuperating at home from a viral myocarditis, I have rekindled my love of ice hockey; watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs sure beats Oprah and Ellen! I know, you are thinking what does this have to do with Jesus? I'll try to explain.

Growing up in New England we have cold winters with frozen ponds from late November to early March, therefore;. hockey didn't require indoor facilities for which there were none in my town. We laced up a pair of department store skates, grabbed a hockey stick at the local hardware store and headed out the door. We used tree branches for goals, and protective padding was unheard of.

During the 1970-71 season I saw the New Haven Blades play. It was their last year, and one of their last games. It was hard hitting, fast-paced game with a number of fights - truly exciting and inspiring! My brothers and I headed to the pond and imitated them as best we could.

About the same time one the neighbors joined a "real" hockey team and started to make us look pretty bad out there on Brock's Pond. In the winter of 1972 my high school started it's first hockey club which my brothers and I joined. It was unfunded by the town, so we sold candy bars door-to-door to make money for ice time at Wesleyan University. My team had some added encouragement from the New Haven Nighthawks, a new AHL team in our city; that's their logo on my jersey.

We practiced once a week at the rink before dawn and had games on Saturday afternoon. The rest of the winter it was the ponds, or we lost the last puck in the snow bank.

A dream was born!

North Branford only won a couple of games that season at personal cost of a dozen stitches and a lost tooth. My mother's response, and my father's were quite different....

The Johndrow' became a hockey family with practices at 5 am, a net in front of the garage door, and summers at hockey school with the big names: Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Billy Smith and a bunch of others. We watched every televised game of out New York and Boston. I would lay in bed under a photo of Bobby Orr dreaming about going pro one day. If I worked hard enough, I just new I could do it. To stay in shape I rode my bike to school 12 miles each day. I ran a few miles three times a week and weight trained on the Universal. And my favorite, I shot a few hundred pucks a day at the net in front of the garage.

I had a few successes as a defenseman: there was the slap shot from the blue line that beat the second best goal tender in the state, as we beat our arch rivals 3-2 in sudden death overtime. And then I beat the number one scorer in the state as he and his teammates descended on me in a 3-on-1 break, slamming him into the boards with with hip check and stealing the puck away. We lost 2-1, but we were ranked 35th to their number 1.

Every season there were injuries - I stopped counting stitches and chipped teeth - I only missed one game due to a concussion.

Eventually I had try-outs with a local pro-am team. After 5 hours on the ice, I got cut; it was disheartening. I did go on to play at college where we got beat every single game. It turned out to be more about the party, than the game. After 2 years I was done playing organized hockey for good. I stopped following the Boston Bruins, Orr was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks - hockey was never the same. As I run my tongue over 11 crowns; which are a constant reminder of those 10 years of hard work, it the back of my mind it still seems possible to play pro.

Today as I watch my old favorites in living color, but it bothers me that there are teams in the NHL from cities where the average snow fall is zero!

As fate would have it, about three years later after I quit, God gave me a new dream, one to serve the Kingdom of God. Again, I thought if I just worked hard, I could achieve it. I was wrong, I couldn't make anything happen. I couldn't practice harder or study more, I just had to wait on God.

Isaiah 40:31But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.


And finally one night I awoke about 2 am, and the Lord asked me if I wanted the ministry he had for me, and all that went with it.

1 Kings 3:5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”


I said yes.

How about you, what is your dream?

8 comments:

Charlie Chang said...

I love your story David. I remember in high school really believing I could become a player in the NHL. But I didn't have the right connections and I only played roller hockey.

My friend lives in LA and is coming back to MD, hopefully we'll get serious about finding a roller hockey league to join. Always more fun when you got a buddy to practice and ride to the games with.

Thanks for sharing.

nicodemusatnite.com

David-FireAndGrace said...

@Charlie - amazing where life takes us. I just want to get a stick and a puck, and go and shoot at a net. Even if it's alone.

I say go for it!

Arny said...

Well, we are all about Soccer over here in the south,...Texas to be exact! lol...so hockey is not really our thing down here...even though My band mate loves, i mean loves hockey with a passion! He loves the Ducks...

My dream is to be able to "pay my bills" with playing music...and leading the Kingdom of God in Worship! That is my dream....

David-FireAndGrace said...

@Arny - awesome dream you have - if it from the heart God, it will happen. Destiny in Christ is much better than being good at something.

When I dumped hockey, I was a music major at a small college. It was the same story, I played 13 hours a day, transferred to Hartt College of Music and never made the pros. I have done some recording which I think is pretty good, but I am no David Crowder.

Find me on Facebook, or send me and email an I will get you some MP3s. Let me know if you have some to share.

Arny said...

hey I'd love to hear some of that! lol...

At my Blog. Arny's Light... You can go to the About my Band page and I have 2 videos there...

we are currently recording in the studio...

WARNING...I mostly write and sing Spanish Worship...but the music is pretty pop rock modern...

David-FireAndGrace said...

Español no es ningún problema! Gracias.

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

I decided this year I am a Canucks fan - good year to decide that. I haven't watched much - not a lot of time and I still can't follow the puck very well. I find it funny that there are hockey teams in southern California and Texas - but hey you can't complain about love of the game!

I don't have one big dream - right now it's just be with my wife and daughter and that seems like more than enough.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@Charlie - well that is the dream of many young couples - and family is a noble calling.

But soon enough, midlife. ;)

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