I recently had the thrill of cheering on a good friend running in the 120th Boston Marathon. In case you’re wondering why I didn’t run it myself, it’s because cheering her on, alongside 29,999 other runners, was exhausting enough. I also felt privileged to bear witness to the many visually and mobility impaired runners and wheelchair athletes participating in this event. The visually impaired athletes all had guides that ran alongside them. As if running 42.2 kilometres isn't gruelling enough, I can’t find the words to describe doing so blind.
Can you imagine playing hockey blind? Turns out, a great many of the five million visually impaired Canadians do! Though I have never actually seen a game, I was recently made aware that Courage Canada hosts an annual hockey tournament sponsored by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and AMI. Courage Canada, Hockey for the Blind is a national registered charity that leads the development of the sport of blind hockey.
Going to an NHL hockey game is an explosion for all senses: touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. High-fiving your seatmate, enjoying the canteen food with a beer, smelling that popping corn, seeing the players take to the ice and of course, the deafening sound of twenty thousand people cheering all play a part in a hockey game.
Minor hockey isn’t quite the same assault on the senses but it still has its images. I’m glad I have my vision, but I’m pretty sure if I couldn’t see a hockey game, these tale-tell sounds would give away its identity:
Oh, yes; hockey is noisy. While hockey is renowned for its offending smell, I have no doubt that it would be the sounds of hockey that will replay themselves over and over in my memories. Oh, the noise, NOISE, NOISE!
Three cheers for hockey noise – the sweet sounds of hockey.
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