“Why would you buy two seventeen-year-old boys mini sticks?” It was the first thing out of my husband’s mouth when I laid out all of the Christmas gifts I had just brought home from the mall. I was about to start wrapping and what I wanted to say to my husband was, “When you do the shopping, you can decide what to get the kids – as a spectator you have no say!”. I didn’t, I looked at him and said, “I guarantee you they will play with these for the whole break.” I know it’s not Christmas time and I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m telling a story about Christmas. Please bear with me, it will all make sense in light of what we are facing right now.
I had two teenage boys living in my house that Christmas and they were bored out of their mind. One of them was the young man that we billeted, the other was my son, and they were teammates. Our billet stayed with us for most of the break because the team still held ice times for the players that lived in the area. The problem was the schedule wasn’t quite as full as they were used to.
One day the two of them had “ate me out of house and home”, watched every episode of “Friends”, listened to every song on their playlist on full volume and … they were starting to annoy me. I decided not to wait until they opened their Christmas gifts. I came down the stairs and told them I had a gift for them. They both sat beside each other like little kids as I handed them their gifts. I watched as they ripped through the wrapping paper so excited to see what I’d bought for them. Almost in unison, they yelled “MINI STICKS, SWEEEEEEET!”
Then it began… the painter’s tape came out. They taped nets on the carpet and started into the rules. They taped the names of their teams on their sweaty t-shirts and made a scorecard on an old piece of cardboard from the storage room. In the midst of it all my daughter came down the stairs and saw these two young men with tape on their clothes, mini sticks in hand and a homemade scoreboard on the wall. I believe her words were, “Losers!”
They played mini sticks for hours. They had a tournament, and, although their arguments about the rules got a little loud at times, it kept them busy. If I’m being honest, it’s one of my best memories of that Christmas. Their enthusiasm and love of the game, no matter how they were playing it, was contagious.
I’m hoping that by the time you read this article the pandemic is behind us and we are looking forward to good health. If we are still in the middle of it and you have kids you’re trying to keep busy, don’t ever underestimate the power of a mini-stick. Don’t underestimate the power of play. Pull out some of your old games, put out some food, play good music in the background and before you know it you will have put in an hour or more and you’re all smiling while you do it.
Please stay healthy, stay home and find a way to embrace the togetherness and appreciation for health and family that only an emergency can bring. Sometimes a lack of control brings an abundance of appreciation for what’s important.
- Written by Allyson Tufts