A landscape was the assignment for today in the photo101 challenge. I chose this image from several I shot; not because it was the best photo really, but because it brought back so many “warm” memories for me.

I grew up outside Philadelphia with three older brothers during the heyday of the Flyer’s Broad Street Bullies. We loved playing pond hockey when ever we could. We would scramble to find enough kids with gear and take over any frozen surface we could locate. From the local quarry to the turnpike underpass, to just a flooded frozen grass area, we played them all. Our favorite “big league” venues were the local ponds. The Smith’s farm pond in Worcester was home ice, and the Heyser’s Mill Rd. pond near the high school was away.  A pretty fierce rivalry brewed between the two pond’s locals; with teams of brothers on both sides. (It was like the Hansons from Slapshot on both sides of the pond- “old time hockey, coach!”)

The goals were home-made from two-bys and chicken wire, and were only knee high. Since no one had any pads; penalties were handed out for any high “lifters” (shots that got over your ankles). Actually having hockey gloves meant you were like a semipro. In the summer the same “crews” played some vicious street hockey games, but I loved the pond hockey. After the games the Smith’s often had a bonfire and hot chocolate out near the pig barn, and they’d graciously garden hose “zamboni” the ice for the next day. Those losers over on Mill Road had none of those luxuries!

The ponds didn’t always freeze over thoroughly, and I still laugh thinking about some of the swims that were taken. My favorite was a kid name Mike whose gear had frozen solid, trying to get his legs to bend enough to sit on his minibike and ride home, cursing all the way. If I ever make a movie, that scene will be in it.

Played a lot more hockey- a lot more organized and expensive- but never more fun than that. I think that sentiment is shared by tons of hockey fans, which is why the Winter Classic is such a huge draw. Pond hockey on a pro level.

Ice Ice Baby!

 

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