Mothers know full well the attraction the first real snowfall of winter has on young children. Whatever harrowing situations are playing out on the roads is totally lost on all those kids playing knee deep in the white fluff making snowmen, creating snow angels and having snow ball fights.
Hockey moms are different of course. It’s very likely that their kids have been playing on the mound of snow outside the hockey arena since early fall. Oh yes, once every hour, for sixteen hours straight, the big Zamboni is dumping a fresh pile of slush on top of the next, and in short order it is one enormous pile of slush that grows bigger and bigger until April of the next year.
We first discovered this Mound of Fun because the local cooperative preschool my kids attended was located adjacent our local hockey arena, so even before the kids had strapped on their first pair of cheese cutters, they were climbing and playing atop Mount Zamboni for hours.
Once her older brothers started hockey, my daughter, the too-young-to-be-left-at-home younger sibling, quickly realized that Mount Zamboni was much better amusement during her brothers’ games and practices than the leftover popcorn found under the spectator stands.
Being the hyper-vigilant parent that I am, I made sure my kids never played on the big pile of slush while the Zamboni was dumping its load – that’s just an accident waiting to happen – so it was actually several years of happy climbing before we even encountered Mr. Zamboni.
As it often happens with kids, the attraction of playing in the snow was soon equalled by the excitement of seeing big trucks in action. And being the kids that they are, my kids soon realized that it was the Zamboni that was adding fresh snow to their Mound of Fun. The next time we played on Mount Zamboni, we had to stick around and watch Mr. Zamboni do his magic.
As soon as the Zamboni had dumped its load of fresh fun, my kids scrambled back up and resumed their game of King of the Castle. As the driver returned the Zamboni to its secret hiding spot in between ice times, I noticed him coming out to chat with me. Assuming he had something most complimentary to say about my spirited young progeny, I walked to meet him.
“You know, Lady,” he started, in a voice that made me realize this was going to be another one of the not-so-complimentary conversations I’ve had with strangers about my spirited young progeny, “If you knew what was in that slush, I bet you wouldn’t let your kids play on it.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, innocently.
“Do you have any idea how much spit, Gatorade, rust from old skates, sometimes even blood and vomit comes off the ice?”
I gaped at him horrifically.
“Yep, no telling how much but for sure that’s all mixed into that snow your kid just put up to his face to…”
I didn’t give him a chance to finish. I pulled my children of that pile of snow faster than a Zdeno Chara slap shot.
They were kicking and screaming the whole way home because, of course, they didn’t care what disgusting frozen bodily fluids they’d just frolicked upon; this was yet another example of mom ruining their fun. I only wish I’d known enough to ruin their fun earlier!
Three cheers for the Zamboni driver in your life – and the mound of menace they create!
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