This & that: Sunday shoes, golf clubs and a tuna can

FEATURE – I grew up in a great neighborhood. There were seven boys who comprised our neighborhood gang. (Amazingly, there were no girls in our age group.) We all had daily chores, but we found plenty of time for adventure. We lived next to a woods, a creek and a pond. When we were not playing a sport, we were out scouting in the woods, constructing a tree house or catching crawdads at the creek.

One winter, one of our friends came out after Christmas with a pair of ice skates and a hockey stick. No puck, just the skates and the stick. Of course we all thought he scored big-time from Santa. None of the other boys had skates or a stick, but we wanted to take advantage of the iced-over pond.

What we lacked in resources though, we more than made up for with ingenuity. We quickly figured out how to supply ourselves. We went back to the house and slipped on our Sunday shoes then went to our dad’s closet and concocted three hockey sticks from his golf clubs. Then we went to the pantry and grabbed a can of tuna for our hockey puck. We were in business.

We learned very quickly how to maneuver on the slick-surfaced shoes and we got pretty good with our “hockey sticks” even though the club faces were much smaller than real hockey sticks. That became our activity for most of the week.  Occasionally, one of our clubs would bend, but they turned out to be pretty malleable and we could bend them almost back to normal. And when one of our clubs became too distorted to function properly, it turned out that my dad had several more at our disposal – or at least enough to get us through till the pond thawed.

No boy from Indiana ever dreamed of scoring the winning goal in the Stanley Cup. We grew up wanting to be Roger Brown, who was the best basketball player for the Indiana Pacers at the time. But I must admit, for someone who could not even name a player in the NHL, that week of ice hockey was one of the best I had as a boy.

A few months later, when spring had arrived, my father decided to hit the links. Knowing he was soon to discover we had repurposed his clubs, my brothers and I scattered like cockroaches. (Years later I realize that maneuver probably pointed to our guilt more than anything.)

There was anger of course, but I think my father was mainly bewildered at the condition of his clubs. We never confessed but we still ended up paying for them. Not that we had money, but none of us saw our weekly allowance for quite some time. Years later we told our father the true story. He got a good laugh.

I learned that many times it is resourcefulness, not resources, that get you through — whether it be a bump in the road, a temporary difficulty or just to supply a kids’ hockey game.

Darren Cole is a developing columnist and otherwise sports writer for St. George News. Any opinions given are his own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter:  @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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